Credit union groups cheer latest CFPB commission bill

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Credit union trade groups cheered a bill from Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., that would alter the leadership structure at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, moving from a lone presidential-appointed director to a five-person bipartisan commission.

The bill comes as the Supreme Court is set to rule on a legal challenge to the bureau’s structure and whether a president can remove the bureau’s director for cause. Credit unions initially had a tenuous relationship to the agency, but that has improved in recent years. Much of the industry has long called for a multimember commission instead of a single director.

“Sen. Fischer’s legislation will bring stability and strength to the CFPB by creating a leadership structure that ensures all voices are heard,” Ryan Donovan, chief advocacy officer at the Credit Union National Association, said in a statement on Wednesday. “This legislation is an important step to reestablishing the bureau as it was initially envisioned — with input from CUNA and the [state credit union leagues] — back in the original, House-passed version of the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010. We look forward to working with Congress to finding a path forward on this critical legislation.”

Dan Berger, president and CEO of the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions, said a commission would better serve consumers by providing “more robust debate, diversity of thought and a stable leadership structure at the agency.”

Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., introduced a companion bill in the House earlier this spring.

With lawmakers still waiting on the Supreme Court’s decision and a limited legislative window before a contentious general election, it’s unclear what chances either bill has to move forward.

With that in mind, Berger added, “Until the CFPB's leadership structure is reformed by Congress, we look forward to continuing to work with Director Kathy Kraninger. Over the years, she has been responsive, transparent, and receptive to the needs of credit unions.”

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