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The NCUA created its Office of Consumer Protection in 2008. It was done not to establish another office of government oversight, but rather to keep the regulation of credit unions within the agency authorized by statute. Who better to monitor credit unions than the regulator that charters, insures, supervises and examines them?

The NCUA OCP was in play before the passage of legislation creating the CFPB. Prior to its passage, the NCUA argued, unsuccessfully, to have credit unions removed from CFPB oversight, citing the fact that a mechanism had already been created to oversee how credit unions handled consumer issues and how they responded to consumer concerns. It seemed practical that those charged with the regulation of credit unions would know what was best for both the industry and the consumer. The fact that it was practical perhaps led Congress to believe it was illogical.

Efforts made by credit union trade associations to get the CFPB to acknowledge credit unions are different and should not be placed under the countless regulations the agency has promulgated have been fruitless. The CFPB seems to believe that they do not have the authority to carve out such an exception, or perhaps they are fearful of a backlash from other financial institutions that would claim favoritism and the creation of a playing field that is not level.

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Michael Fryzel

Credit Union Times

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