Rep. Waters Previews Plans for Housing Finance, BSA/AML Reform

In remarks at the American Bankers Association Washington Summit today, House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) previewed several policy initiatives that the committee will pursue under her leadership, including housing reform, cannabis and Bank Secrecy Act/anti-money laundering reform.

Waters emphasized that “it is time for Congress to come to a solution on the long-term status of GSEs” and highlighted several principles that should underlie any reform proposal, including maintaining access to the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, ensuring that sufficient private capital is in place to protect taxpayers and maintaining credit access for borrowers. She added that “the inclusion of small financial institutions must be a critical part of any conversations on GSE reform.”

With respect to BSA/AML reform, Waters said the committee is considering beneficial ownership legislation, as well as what could be done to improve outreach and feedback opportunities from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network regarding BSA/AML reporting. Turning to the issue of cannabis, Waters touted the committee’s recent passage of the ABA-supported SAFE Banking Act, a “long overdue” effort to provide a safe harbor for banks serving legitimate cannabis businesses.

Waters concluded her remarks by encouraging bankers to continue engaging in a productive dialogue about banking policy. “My office has an open-door policy, and I am always willing to hear your concerns,” she said. “While we may not agree on every issue, it is important to have the conversation.”