The new federal consumer bureau doesn’t even open for business until July, but House Republicans on Wednesday took the first steps to change its structure in a way that Democrats say would weaken it.
The House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit approved bills that would have the bureau run by a five-member board rather than a director; allow the bureau’s decisions to be overturned by a majority vote of the Financial Stability Oversight Council rather than two thirds; and delay the July 23 start up of the bureau until a director is in place.
The votes were along party lines. Democrats who control the Senate have promised to provide strong oversight of the new bureau but have not expressed support for changing its structure.
CUNA didn’t take a position on the bills though said if the agency winds up being governed by a five-member board one member should have knowledge of credit unions.
NAFCU supported all the bills and during the discussion, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), who sponsored the bill to change the number of votes needed to overturn bureau decisions, cited the associations concerns about the impact of excessive regulative on small financial institutions.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will be an independent agency housed inside the Federal Reserve and run by a director appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. President Obama hasn’t nominated a director but has named Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren to set up the bureau.
The full committee is scheduled to vote on the bills on May 12.
The bills are HR 1121, HR 1315 and HR 1667.