'The CFPB is simply not listening,' credit union group says

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Credit unions continue to press the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for regulatory relief, arguing that the few exemptions given to such institutions have not done enough.

In a letter sent Thursday to the CFPB, Jim Nussle, the president and CEO of the Credit Union National Association, asked for specific exemptions from four CFPB rules: the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, remittances, the ability-to-repay/qualified mortgage rule and mortgage servicing rules.

"The CFPB is simply not listening," Nussle wrote to CFPB Director Richard Cordray. "Credit unions continue to tell us that the accommodations the CFPB continues to cite are not sufficient exemptions and they do not fully take into consideration the size, complexity, structure, or mission of all credit unions."

The effort by credit unions to get more exemptions from CFPB rules has reached a fevered pitch recently, but it is unclear if they will pay off. Cordray has said that if Congress wanted to exempt credit unions from the Dodd-Frank Act, it would have done so.

Late last month, J. Mark McWatters, the acting chairman of the National Credit Union Administration, took the unusual step of asking fellow regulator Cordray to exempt credit unions from expanded HMDA requirements and from requirements for unfair, deceptive and abusive acts or practices, known as UDAAP.

The National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions also sent a letter last month to Cordray asking for a one-year delay until 2019 of the HMDA rule. NAFCU even put out a list of the "dirty dozen" CFPB regulations that it wants rolled back.

Nussle did not mention UDAAP in his letter, but he called for an exemption from HMDA data reporting on home equity lines of credit, or HELOCs, and for a reduction in the number of HMDA data point requirements.

He also asked the CFPB to dramatically increase the HMDA loan volume exemption thresholds, which would give relief to more credit unions.

"In general, we believe the 2015 HMDA final rule is a prime example of a rule in which credit unions should be treated differently because of their field of membership restrictions and the absence of a discriminatory lending history," Nussle wrote in the three-page letter.

Nussle was particularly adamant that the CFPB's exemption on remittances has crippled credit union participation in the market. Roughly 55% of credit unions have either cut back or eliminated offering international remittances in the past five years because of higher costs, he wrote.

CUNA also is asking for modifications to the CFPB's ability to repay/qualified mortgage rule but did not provide specifics.

On mortgage servicing, Nussle is asking for exemptions for small servicers from requirements related to successors-in-interest, force-placed insurance and, in certain circumstances, early-intervention requirements for borrowers in bankruptcy.

Nussle said he was taking Cordray up on his offer when he said he in recent testimony before a House Financial Services Committee that he wanted feedback and suggestions on how the bureau's rules are impacting credit unions.

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