Thursday, November 17, 2011 10:35:00 AM
WASHINGTON – CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney encouraged Congress to take a balanced approach to regulatory relief that would aid both credit unions and community banks during a Wednesday hearing before the House Financial Services subcommittee on financial institutions.
Cheney said CUNA supports portions of the Communities First Act (H.R. 1697), which would loosen some community bank regulations, but added that credit unions will not let any regulatory relief legislation for banks move forward without similar relief for credit unions.
In his testimony, Cheney also called on Congress to combine credit union member business lending (MBL) legislation with community bank regulatory relief legislation. He suggested that adding provisions of H.R. 1418, which would lift the credit union MBL cap to 27.5% of total assets, to provisions of H.R. 1697 would result in a bill that could "be embraced by all who serve businesses on Main Street." Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), who is a main sponsor of H.R. 1418, also supported combining portions of the two bills.
Cheney also called for greater regulatory flexibility for credit unions and community banks, and encouraged legislators to craft language that specifically addresses issues faced by smaller institutions. One-size-fits-all regulations create problems for smaller institutions, and limiting these types of regulations would help small institutions and allow them to spend more time working within their communities, Cheney said.
Banker opposition to credit union legislation "has meant that hundreds of thousands of jobs that could have been created through additional credit union business lending have gone uncreated," has prevented many Americans from having access to affordable financial services, and "has constricted credit unions' ability to grow and better serve their members”, Cheney said.
Cheney’s written testimony is available here.
The audio archive of the Webcast of the hearing is available here.