Duffy Urges CUs to Rat on Regulators: Onsite at NAFCU Caucus
WASHINGTON – Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), The House Financial Services Committee’s chief watchdog, urged credit union industry executives to contact his subcommittee with all incidents of regulatory overreach that they want to bring to congressional attention.
Duffy chairs the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
Speaking to attendees at NAFCU’s 2015 Congressional Caucus, Duffy used a fishing analogy in his pitch, after stressing that his whole subcommittee has a staff of only seven.
“I’m a Wisconsin boy, so I like to fish,” Duffy told the attendees. “I can go to a new lake and cast my lines and probably catch a lot of fish, but it will take me a while and a lot of casts. How much more efficient would I be if someone who already knew the lake could give me the coordinates where the fish could be found?”
If credit union executives came forward with things that they believed needed the subcommittee’s attention, it would help the subcommittee’s small staff make the most of its time and resources, Duffy explained. He added that any contact with the subcommittee could remain confidential.
“I know that a number of folks don’t like to stick their heads up and risk playing whack a mole, so all communications with us can remain private,” Duffy said.
Duffy noted that Operation Choke Point, a joint program belonging to the Justice Department and federal banking regulators, in particular the FDIC, came to Congress’ attention, in part, after a gun shop owner in Duffy’s Wisconsin district complained about a credit union closing his account.
“Whether you like payday lenders or don’t like them, or any of the other organizations on that list, no matter your politics, you should be concerned about government’s ability to close a business just because any administration doesn’t like it,” Duffy said of the controversial administrative action.
Duffy’s invitation came at the end of his remarks, which directed encouragement toward attendees and attacked federal regulators.
“Don’t disregard the importance of hearings,” Duffy said. “Even if the legislation may not pass today, don’t be discouraged. There is a long game and the hearings lay the groundwork for what we might be able to do under a new administration.”
He attacked the CFPB for what he called a “Washington mentality” that, Duffy said, believes that Americans are stupid and anyone out to make a dollar in financial services must be cheating their clients or customers.
“And the worst part is that Congress has no real effective oversight over this agency,” Duffy said of the CFPB. “If they do something wrong that causes you real pain, you might call your senator or congressman. But what can they do on your behalf? Write a letter!”