GOP bill would lessen Dodd-Frank’s blow to credit unions

Miller’s Regulatory Relief for Credit Unions Act would allow the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) – the industry’s chief regulator – to give institutions waivers from other federal regulations, allowing them in some cases to follow state rules instead.

The bill would allow the NCUA to intervene to delay or change regulations issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which was created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill.

Among other provisions, the bill would also impose new requirements that the NCUA and CFPB study the costs of their regulations and would give credit unions greater flexibility more control over their investment decisions.

The centerpiece of the legislation is language that would fundamentally change capital requirements for credit unions, in effect giving them access to more money that could be lent in communities around the country. 

In a letter to top NCUA officials supporting the Miller bill, National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU) CEO Fred Becker noted Friday that the change would put credit unions on even footing with other financial institutions that operate under “risk-based” capital rules that allow them more lending authority.

“Unfortunately, however, credit unions have been required to function under an outdated, inflexible and generally unhelpful system that fails to adequately differentiate risks associated with different assets,” Becker wrote.  “As a result, credit unions’ ability to meet their members’ needs is unnecessarily limited.”