Wisconsin League Fights Regulatory Consolidation
Wisconsin credit unions and their league Wednesday will oppose a bill that would lump the state's financial regulator in with the agency the licenses cosmetologists and other unrelated professions.
Two Wisconsin state legislators are proposing a bill that would combine the Office of Credit Unions and Department of Financial Institutions, which regulates banks, with Department of Safety and Professional Services. The DSPS has oversight for the cemetery board, family therapists, hydrogeologists, bodywork therapists, perfusionists, home inspection, mixed martial arts and cosmetology. Representatives from credit unions, the Wisconsin Credit Union League and the Cooperative Network, a cooperative lobbying group, will speak out against the proposal.
Senate Bill 119, introduced by Sen. Roger Roth (R-Appleton) and Rep. Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan) will by considered by the state Senate Committee on Workforce Development, Public Works, and Military Affairs today at 1 p.m. in the State Capitol Building in Madison. An earlier study by Gov. Scott Walker’s administration showed overall satisfaction with DSPS and recommended against the merger.
Credit unions have expressed concern that the merger lacks any identified problems that need resolution, was not requested by private sector stakeholders, offers no benefits to financial institutions, jeopardizes consumers’ current satisfaction levels with financial services, shows no evidence of cost savings and simply creates a larger bureaucracy.
"We're in the heat of agreement with the Administration that government should be responsive, efficient and accountable," said league SVP of advocacy Tom Liebe. "However, merging the agencies tasked with regulation of the state's 350 financial intuitions with the agency responsible for credentialing massage therapists, soil scientists and boxing regulation is something that isn't needed right now.”
Wisconsin banks and credit unions currently employ more than 15,000 state residents and hold approximately $75 billion in assets, Liebe noted. When it comes to regulatory agencies serving state financial institutions, the status quo is working extremely well right now.
“The Wisconsin Credit Union League and Cooperative Network hope that legislators will hear the concerns of stakeholders, recognize the merger is unnecessary at this time, remove the proposal from the budget bill, and direct their attention to exploring other options for efficiencies and increased accountability in state government," Liebe added.