The House of Representatives is set to vote tomorrow on a package of bills that would change the way the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau operates, though the measures would face a rougher road in the Senate. The package of bills would have the bureau run by a five-member board rather than a director; and allow the bureau’s decisions to be overturned by a majority vote of the Financial Stability Oversight Council rather than two thirds.
When the House Financial Services Committee passed the legislation in May it was along party lines, with Republicans supporting it and Democrats opposing it.
NAFCU supported all of the changes while CUNA took a more nuanced view.
CUNA and NAFCU both support allowing the bureau’s decisions to be overturned by a majority of the Financial Stability Oversight Council, which is made up of the heads of all the financial regulatory agencies, including the NCUA.
But CUNA didn’t take a position on whether the agency should be run by one person or by a five-member board.
However, it has said that if there were a five-member board running the bureau, Congress should mandate that at least one member be someone who has experience related to credit unions.
Senate Democrats haven’t indicated any willingness to change the CFPB’s structure but they may be forced to negotiate about the issue. Senate Republicans have vowed to block the confirmation of anyone to run the CFPB unless changes are made to its structure.
“Those who are advocating for more accountability have been accused of trying to ‘gut’, ‘cripple’, or ‘defang’ the bureau,’’ Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee said yesterday. “I believe that it is important to note, however, that we have not, and are not, proposing any changes to the bureau’s authority. We are proposing changes to the bureau’s structure so that it will be more accountable to the American people.’’
On Monday, President Obama named former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to run the bureau, an independent agency which will be housed in the Federal Reserve. The CFPB is scheduled to begin operating tomorrow.