House Members Ask CFPB for Community Financial Institution Exemptions

A bipartisan group of 329 House members wrote to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau yesterday, urging the agency to exempt community banks and credit unions from certain rulemakings. Led by Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), the letter cited a provision of the Dodd-Frank Act allowing the bureau to adapt regulations by exempting “any class” of entity from its rulemakings.

“As you undertake rulemakings, we urge you to consider the benefits credit unions and community banks provide and ensure that regulations do not have the unintended consequences of limiting services or increasing costs for credit union members or community bank customers,” the letter said.

CFPB Director Richard Cordray has in the past declined to take this action. “It is not plausible to me that we could use such authority to override Congress’s own judgment on such a broad-based policy matter,” he said in a recent speech to a credit union group. “But … Congress itself drew some thresholds and tiers that distinguished larger institutions from smaller institutions, such as its provision giving us supervisory authority over banks and credit unions with more than $10 billion in assets but not those with less.” The congressional letter does not distinguish between smaller credit unions and the five credit unions with assets of more than $10 billion.