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Committee Democrats Announce Unanimous Support for Measure to Aid Main Street Banks, Protect Consumers

Legislation supported by every Democrat on Banking, Financial Services Committees

Leading Democrats on the Senate Banking and House Financial Services Committees today announced the broad support of Democratic Members for legislation to provide targeted relief to small financial institutions and protect consumers. The measure, which was introduced in both the House of Representatives and the United States Senate, has the unanimous support of Democratic Members of the respective committees.

Entitled the “Community Lender Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act of 2015,” the measure provides reasonable relief to community banks and credit unions without putting consumers or the economy at risk. It incorporates a number of provisions that have already passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support. In addition to relief for Main Street financial institutions, the measure also includes a number of key provisions to increase consumer protections for servicemembers and renters.

Ranking Members Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Maxine Waters (D-CA) joined Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Rep. John Carney (D-DE) to announce the introduction of the legislation.

“There is no reason why Democrats and Republicans can’t pass targeted legislation today that would give community lenders relief and be signed into law,” said Ranking Member Brown. “Main Street financial institutions shouldn’t be held hostage to an ideological attack on the Wall Street reform law.”

“Our unity behind this legislation is an unequivocal statement of Democratic support for small banks and credit unions, which are on the front lines of lending in our communities,” said Ranking Member Waters. “This measure represents a compromise that takes all perspectives into account, by providing targeted relief to real Main Street institutions while increasing protections for servicemembers and vulnerable communities. Our approach is in stark contrast to House and Senate Republicans, who have used the concerns of community banks to push dramatic changes to Dodd-Frank.”

“We’re introducing a common sense bill that can actually pass the Senate, House, and be signed into law,” said Sen. Heitkamp. “We need solid, realistic reforms that support community banks and credit unions so they can help families, businesses, and farmers gets access to loans and capital, and that’s what this bill accomplishes. It’s telling that every Democrat on both committees supports this bill -- we come from varying degrees of the political spectrum -- as it was through compromise and open dialogue that we were able to reach an agreement. Now, let’s move it forward.”

“This bill will go a long way toward ensuring access to credit and enabling community banks to better serve their customers while retaining and strengthening core consumer protections,” said Rep. Carney. “Dodd Frank made a lot of important changes to our banking system, but there’s more work to do. Our legislation fine-tunes Dodd Frank so it works as intended.”

Among other provisions, the legislation allows banks and credit unions under $10 billion in assets relief from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) “Qualified Mortgage” rule, by exempting certain loans from its requirements as long as they do not sell or securitize those loans.

The measure would also protect consumers by giving the CFPB supervision and enforcement authority over a number of consumer protection provisions of the Service Member Civil Relief Act, something it does not have currently. Additionally, the measure would make permanent expired provisions to protect tenants from eviction when their landlord or property owner has entered foreclosure.

A section-by-section summary of the measure is available here.

Text of the legislation is available here.


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