GAO advises consolidating federal financial regulation
A recommendation that the federal financial regulatory agencies be consolidated earned its share of attention this week, as the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released the results of a report that it published in February. Titled “Complex and Fragmented Structure Could Be Streamlined to Improve Effectiveness,” the 136-page report recommends that “Congress should consider whether changes to the financial regulatory structure are needed to reduce or better manage fragmentation and overlap.” Specifically, the report recommends “consolidating the number of federal agencies involved in overseeing the safety and soundness of depository institutions” and “transferring the remaining prudential regulators’ consumer protection authorities over large depository institutions to CFPB,” among other things. (The chart, above, on page 3 of the report, illustrates the current federal financial regulatory set up.)
NASCUS is still digesting the 136-page report, but certainly costs, benefits, and unintended consequences of any regulatory consolidation plan must be carefully considered. And transferring oversight of very large credit unions for consumer protection to CFPB is of concern. The fact is, however, that a number of state agencies supervising credit unions today are also charged with overseeing banks, thrifts, other financial institutions and other non-depository financial service providers. These agencies have a broad view of the environment for financial institutions, offering them a deeper understanding of the environment for all financial institutions – which has proven to be very effective in decision-making for credit unions. But regulatory consolidation would, no doubt, have any number of possible unintended consequences – which should be understood and appreciated. The fact is, diversity is one the key hallmarks that has made our federal and state supervisory system, overall, effective.
Consumers don’t like to receive calls from debt collectors, especially about debts they don’t owe – and they have let the CFPB know that through their complaints. The agency reported this week in its monthly consumer complaint snapshot that it recorded 219,200 debt collection objections through March 1, making debt collection overall the leader in consumer grievances. Complaints about collection attempts on debts not actually owed accounted for 38% of all debt collection complaints submitted. In a release, CFPB reported that, overall, debt collection complaints represented 26% of total cumulative complaints submitted to the CFPB as of March 1, surpassing mortgages as the most-complained-about product or service since the Bureau began accepting complaints in July 2011.
A public meeting on the new FFIEC cybersecurity assessment tool – set to be incorporated into NCUA’s examination program – will be webcast live April 7, beginning at 9 a.m. The session is intended to generate feedback on the assessment tool. Two other topics will also be discussed during the 90-minute session — federal agency cybersecurity alignment and best-practice sharing. The session is part of a three-day program, April 5-7, sponsored by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (in Gaithersburg, Md.), on its Cybersecurity Framework (which was developed as a result of a federal Executive Order to help reduce cyber risks to critical infrastructure on a voluntary basis). There is no charge or registration required to view the webcast.
NASCUS’ MBL School is under the spotlight in a new “CU Broadcast” video segment featuring NASCUS President and CEO Lucy Ito. CU Broadcast is an independent, web-based video program featuring credit union issues and topics. In the segment featuring the June 7-8 MBL School (to be held in New Orleans), Ito discusses why NASCUS is offering the new school, key elements of the new NCUA MBL regulations, how the rule affects state-chartered credit unions, and why state credit union examiners and practitioners need to build a strong understanding of the new rule.
In-depth discussion of some of the top national operational issues confronting the credit union system – including the payments system, business lending and succession planning – are on the agenda for the Examiners’ School, May 3-5. Held at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle, the two-and-a-half-day school is packed with information from experts on these key issues. Meredith Robinson, payments systems specialist for NCUA, leads the day-long session on payments systems. Jim Devine, president and CEO of Hipereon Financial Training, leads the second full-day session on business lending. And, Jay Petty, executive benefits specialist for CUNA Mutual Group leads the final session, a half day on succession planning. Check out the details, including costs, at the link below.
A bipartisan group of more than 130 lawmakers have written NCUA, CFPB and other federal agencies for examples of what they have done to tailor their rules to the business model and risk of institutions they regulate. The letter was arranged by Reps. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., and David Scott, D-Ga., both members of the House financial institutions subcommittee … A senior position is opening up at the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation; for details, see link below (or on nascus.org under Career Opportunities.)
Patrick Keefe, NASCUS Communications, email@example.com or (703) 528-5974