The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s main goal is to protect consumers, but before its creation, credit unions were already striving to maintain safe lending practices to protect customers.

CFPB Director Richard Cordray urged credit unions in a speech before the National Association of Federal Credit Unions' annual conference to continue lending outside of the qualified mortgage definition. 

"Those that lend responsibly – like almost all credit unions – have no reason to fear the Ability-to-Repay rule," Cordray said.

He expanded upon this saying, "If you maintain the same sound underwriting standards you have developed over many years, and you know the loans you make have demonstrated strong performance, then it should not matter much whether those loans happen to be non-QM rather than QM."

Ever since the CFPB started pumping out new regulations, credit unions have voiced their concerns about how tougher rules could impact smaller players in the market.

However, Cordray noted without the CFPB’s help, Congress may not have adjusted guidelines in a manner that considers the special circumstances of smaller creditors.

"Had we not written these rules, you still would have been required to implement new requirements, and in certain respects would have been worse off, because Congress provided that the new requirements of Title XIV of Dodd-Frank would have taken effect on their own terms in the absence of implementing rules issued by the deadline," Cordray explained.

He added, "In the end, therefore, the upshot of big pieces of our new mortgage rules is that the vast majority of credit unions will be covered by special provisions."

Cordray concluded his statements by urging credit unions to work with the CFPB to educate more consumers about safe lending.