Financial Services Legislation to Watch as Congress Returns

January 19, 2010 — As Congress returns to Washington, D.C., legislators are considering several bills affecting financial services in both the House and Senate.

Prior to year end 2009, the House approved H.R. 4173, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, providing comprehensive reform for the financial services system. The bill addresses systemic risk, executive compensation, mortgage reform, over-the-counter derivatives and also creates the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA).

The Senate is expected to release a revised version of its financial reform legislation in the near future. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) directed bipartisan pairs of Committee members to work on various aspects of the legislation. NASCUS has met with Committee staff to discuss the CFPA impact on state credit unions as well as preemption and state authority issues.

In December, a companion bill to the credit union member business lending House legislation was introduced in the Senate. The House bill, H.R. 3380, and Senate bill, S. 2919, would increase credit union MBL to 25 percent of assets and raise the threshold for a MBL to $250,000. The legislation in both chambers would also exempt loans made to non-profit religious organizations and as well as loans made in qualified underserved areas. Both bills have been referred to their respective financial services committees for consideration.

Another bill to watch is H.R. 4300, a bill to set the credit card usury rate at 16 percent. It would also cap credit card fees, such as late, insufficient funds or overdraft fees, at $15. Overdraft protection bills are also still pending in Congress. H.R. 3904 and S. 1799 would extend the protections of the Truth in Lending Act to overdraft protection programs and services provided by depository institutions by requiring customer consent before a depository institution may initiate overdraft protection services and fees. Hearings in both Houses have been held on overdraft protection and discussion is expected to continue.

Further, NASCUS continues its efforts to encourage Congress to introduce the legislative changes necessary to provide credit unions with access to supplemental capital. We will continue our work in this area. Check the NASCUS website here for further legislative updates.