Dealing With TheNew Elephant In Room

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ATLANTA-When it comes to compliance, "there's a new elephant in the room," noted Murray Klein-the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Klein, vice president business channel, financial solutions at TransAmerica Life & Protection Financial Solutions Group, called the CFPB-and the compliance burdens that may arise from it-"truly a paradigm shift." He noted the greatest burden to the credit union community could be that "the extent of this new agency's authority and the breadth of its reach are yet to be absolutely defined."

"Vigilance and being well-informed are the key issues right now, and will certainly be throughout 2011 and 2012," said Klein. With what he called "a flurry of proposed rules still coming out of the independent agencies, as well as the CFPB," credit unions have got to rely on grassroots activism to get their message across.

"They've got to be proactive, so that will mean probably writing letters or sending e-mails," said Klein. "They've got to be heard; they've got to make certain that the individuals who are creating new rules and regulations hear from the grassroots, not just from the trade associations and the lobbyists."

Klein added that the CU community (alongside vendor partners and CU trade groups) should also speak up about issues of concern. "Those things that are good and helpful, instead of always having a cynic's voice, we have to show our support and appreciation for those things," he said, offering the example of a CFPB proposal that blends a pair of mortgage disclosures. "If that's a good thing, then we can't sit on the sidelines and say it's a good thing; we have to be credible. We have to support the good things at the same time we're objecting to those things we find onerous."

As CUs adjust to the CFPB and other new compliance changes, "this is going to require a lot more cooperation amongst all of the elements." Fortunately, he added, "there is very little intra-entity friction here. Everybody sees the same problems as being onerous. Everyone's willing to get down in the weeds with specific issues instead of general condemnation [of the CFPB or other agencies]. It's a democratic approach, but I think it's very important."

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