Credit union chief: 'Too big to fail still exists'

Cheney and other officials at CUNA, which represents 90 percent of the community financial institutions, believe that many rules out of regulatory agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) are unduly burdening credit unions instead of major banks and predatory lenders.

"Credit unions, our members, are just feeling overwhelmed," said Mary Dunn, the trade group's senior vice president and deputy general counsel.

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"Consumers deserve protection. Nobody would say otherwise, and that's what credit unions are all about. But we just didn't feel that they needed to be protected from credit unions, and that's exactly where we are now," she added.

"There are always going to be financial predators, and they continue to exist, and we would urge the Congress and the regulators to go after them. Leave the good guys alone," said John Magill, CUNA's executive vice president for government affairs.

Of particular concern to credit unions, the officials said, were rules limiting mortgage lending to certain borrowers and standards on international remittances.

In December, the CFPB adjusted its remittance regulations to only apply to institutions that make over 100 international money transfers a year, but credit unions argue that compliance for small institutions can be overly burdensome, and the exemption limit needs to be raised.

"I would say 90 percent, if not more, of the credit unions that offer remittances today will not in the future because of the regulation," Cheney said. "Which mean consumers will have to go elsewhere, which means they'll have to pay more."