Congress completed work today on what some said is the most comprehensive financial regulatory bill since the New Deal when the Senate approved the measure 60 to 39.
The bill, which was passed by the House on June 30 and now goes to President Obama for his signature, was a compromise of earlier versions of the measure.
A key provision for credit unions is the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to regulate consumer financial products. Credit unions with assets of $10 billion or less will have to comply with bureau's rules and regulations but the enforcement will be done by the NCUA. The CFPB, housed in the Federal Reserve, will conduct consumer enforcement of the three credit unions with assets of more than $10 billion. It also gives the NCUA chairman a seat on the panel that has the power to determine if a troubled financial institution is a systemic risk and is empowered to review rules issued by the CFPB.
CUNA and NAFCU opposed the measure in large part because of the provision giving the Federal Reserve the right to regulate debit card interchange fees.
CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney said the measure "would have been well-balanced, but for the interchange provision it also incorporates. Because of this provision's impact on credit unions, and its inclusion in the bill, CUNA had no choice but to oppose the overall legislation. Now that it has passed the Senate, and seems certain to become law, credit unions will be working with regulators to ease the interchange provision's impact on their operations and members. We will also be working to ensure that the consumer provisions extend the protections that are intended without limiting the benefit that credit unions already offer to their members."
NAFCU President/CEO Fred Becker said his group is "greatly disappointed that this far-reaching legislation contains provisions that will hamper credit unions' ability to provide low-cost financial services to 92 million Americans. Credit unions have been widely recognized for not contributing to the financial crisis because of their prudent and consumer-friendly business practices. Yet this bill will punish credit unions with unnecessary new regulation and restrictions on their ability to offer free checking and debit card programs."