CBA Letter of Support for FY17 FSGG Appropriations Bill

June 8, 2016

 

The Honorable Harold Rogers                                     The Honorable Nita M. Lowey

Chairman, Committee on Appropriations                    Ranking Member, Committee on Appropriations

U.S. House of Representatives                                   U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. 20515                                             Washington, D.C. 20515

 

 

Dear Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Lowey:

 

On behalf of the Consumer Bankers Association (CBA), I write to express my support for the Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Appropriations bill being voted on in the House Committee on Appropriations tomorrow.  CBA is the voice of the retail banking industry whose products and services provide access to credit for consumers and small businesses. Our members operate in all 50 states, serve more than 150 million Americans, and collectively hold two-thirds of the country’s total depository assets.

 

In 2010, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Act, which put in place a sole director to organize and govern the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).  The CFPB is an independent regulatory agency that is not subject to the Congressional appropriations process and has unprecedented authority over financial institutions.  As the sole decision maker, the director can promulgate regulations and levy enforcement actions that have sweeping and long-lasting effects on credit availability for consumers, with little to no oversight.

 

We deeply appreciate the FY17 FSGG Appropriations bill’s inclusion of a provision to establish at the CFPB a bipartisan, five-person governing board, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The current single director structure leads to regulatory uncertainty for consumers, industry, and the economy, and it subjects vital consumer financial protections to the nation’s dramatic political shifts.  A bipartisan board will provide a balanced and deliberative approach to supervision, regulation, and enforcement over financial institutions.  Moreover, a commission is the traditional and customary structure for regulatory agencies, including the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Credit Union Association, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

 

In addition to the creation of a board at the CFPB, we are pleased the legislation includes language that would require the CFPB to conduct a more thorough study of arbitration before finalizing a rule to restrict its use. Arbitration is an important and effective dispute resolution tool for consumers, delivering consumers on average nearly $5,400 in recovery, versus an average $32 recovery from a class action lawsuit. We appreciate the Committee’s recognition that the CFPB study is incomplete, and more work must be done by the Bureau to examine the costs and benefits of arbitration versus litigation and the consumer impact of restricting arbitration.

 

CBA thanks the Committee for its efforts on these critical issues and welcomes the opportunity to work with the Committee and Congress to ensure the FY17 FSGG Appropriations bill is enacted into law.

 

Sincerely,

Richard Hunt

President and CEO

Consumer Bankers Association