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NAFCU supports Republican bills to reform CFPB

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The National Association of Federal Credit Unions said Wednesday it supports three bills aimed at reforming different aspects of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau because the legislation could potentially loosen the government body's oversight of credit unions. "As the committee is well aware, credit unions did not cause the financial crisis," wrote B. Dan Berger in a letter to Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) and Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.). "While this fact has been well documented and cited by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, credit unions were still inexplicably placed under the regulatory authority and new burdens of the CFPB." The House Financial Services Committee is scheduled to vote Thursday on three bills to reform the CFPB — the Responsible Consumer Financial Protection Regulations Act of 2011 (H.R. 1121), the Consumer Financial Protection Safety and Soundness Improvement Act (H.R. 1315), and the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Transfer Clarification Act (H.R. 1667). Rep. Bachus introduced H.R. 1121, which would establish a five-member commission to govern the CFPB instead of one director. The second bill was introduced by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) and would make it easier for the Financial Stability Oversight Council to overturn rules made by the CFPB. The last bill, introduced by Rep. Shelley Capito (R-W.V.), would delay the entire agency from operation until a director is confirmed by the Senate. All three bills were passed by the House subcommittee last week. If these bills pass the House, however, Washington think-tank MF Global doubts they will make it past the Senate. "Odds are very low for pushing any of these bills through the Senate, but this continues to build the case for deregulatory legislation in 2013," MF Global said in commentary. Republicans have consistently expressed concerns about the governing power of the director of the CFPB, and even said earlier this month they would not confirm a director until structural changes to the agency are made. However, Elizabeth Warren, special adviser to the secretary of the Treasury Department and architect of the CFPB, continually refutes claims the agency is not subject to enough oversight from other federal regulators. "The consumer protection agency is the only bank regulator whose rules can be overruled by another group of agencies," Warren said at the Society of American Business Writers and Editors conference in Dallas. "We cannot interfere with other agencies' rulemaking efforts, but other agencies can veto our rules." Warren claims the House's proposed rules are attempts to defang her agency. Warren is expected to receive the nomination for director of the CFPB by President Obama, although no official announcement has been made yet. Write to Christine Ricciardi. Follow her on Twitter @HWnewbieCR.

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