Senate Banking Committee passes bipartisan Regulatory Reform Package; legislation heads to full Senate

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Senate Banking Committee passed bipartisan legislation that would reduce regulatory burdens on community banks and credit unions as well as provide new protections to consumers. Donnelly helped craft and introduce the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act and supported its passage in the committee. The legislation now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

Donnelly, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, said in his opening statement today, “This bipartisan banking package is carefully written to provide much-needed regulatory relief for the Main Street community banks and credit unions that have been unintentionally burdened by rules and regs intended to hold Wall Street accountable. Main Street banks and credit unions are vital to economic growth in our communities, particularly in rural areas like we have in many parts of Indiana, where families, farmers, and small businesses often lack access to borrowing…

“Additionally, this proposal includes important new protections for consumers, including veterans and servicemembers…This legislative package demonstrates that this committee, and the Senate as a whole, has within itself the ability to break through gridlock and solve difficult issues if we work together in good faith.”

Donnelly helped write and voted for the Dodd-Frank financial system regulatory reforms when he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and continues to support the important reforms included in the law. The bipartisan regulatory relief package Donnelly helped craft that the Banking Committee passed today is carefully written to provide needed regulatory relief to Main Street community banks and credit unions, which have been inadvertently burdened by rules and regulations intended to hold Wall Street accountable. This package would promote economic growth by making commonsense reforms to increase consumer lending, while protecting consumers.

Caryl Auslander, Indiana Chamber of Commerce, said, “The Indiana Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce its support of S. 2155, the “Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act.” This recently drafted bipartisan legislation authored by Sen. Donnelly aims to reduce regulatory burdens on community banks and credit unions, while maintaining additional protections for consumers. In a time where too often partisan deadlock rules in Congress, it is refreshing to see members reach across the aisle to repeal onerous regulatory burdens placed on employers in Indiana and across the nation.”

Amber Van Till, Indiana Bankers Association, said, “The Indiana Bankers Association is pleased to announce its support of the bipartisan Senate regulatory relief agreement. The Indiana Bankers Association applauds the key role that Sen. Joe Donnelly played in helping to garner bipartisan support of a regulatory relief package. Sen. Donnelly’s efforts to bring meaningful, commonsense legislation to the forefront will help clear the way to rightsizing a number of burdensome rules that apply to Indiana’s banks, improving their ability to lend to and support the communities and customers they serve. The Indiana banking community thanks Sen. Donnelly for his leadership in this important first step toward reforming the Dodd-Frank Act’s unintended impact of limiting access to capital for consumers and businesses in Indiana and nationwide.”

Neil Bradley of the US Chamber of Commerce, said, “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports S. 2155, the “Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act,” which would provide long-overdue relief to Main Street businesses and consumers… Key reforms in S. 2155 include: a new capital framework for community banks…sensible mortgage and lending reforms that will put more Americans on the path to homeownership; and targeted relief for the very smallest of banks. The Chamber strongly supports tailored regulations—sophisticated rules that are properly 2 calibrated to the risk profile of an activity or institution. S. 2155 is a first step in the right direction.”

Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, USAF (Ret.), said, “MOAA supports the inclusion of The Protecting Veterans Credit Act of 2017 in this bill because it will protect veterans’ credit ratings while VA resolves medical billing issues through its Choice Program. Veterans should not bear the burden of bureaucratic delays that are beyond their control.”

The bipartisan Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act has broad support from organizations in Indiana and across the country:

  • Indiana Chamber of Commerce,
  • Indiana Credit Union League,
  • Indiana Bankers Association,
  • Indiana Mortgage Bankers Association,
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce,
  • Credit Union National Association,
  • National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions,
  • Independent Community Bankers of America,
  • American Bankers Association,
  • Mortgage Bankers Association,
  • Consumer Bankers Association,
  • National Association of Home Builders, and
  • Bipartisan Policy Center.

The legislative package has also received supportive comments from respected experts such as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, Federal Reserve Gov. Jerome Powell, and FDIC Vice Chair Tom Hoenig, among others.

Donnelly-led and Donnelly-supported measures in the package that would benefit Hoosiers:

  • Community Banks and Credit Unions: This package includes a number of provisions related to community banks and credit unions that would increase their ability to extend credit to Hoosier small businesses and families, while maintaining important consumer protections. This proposal would allow small financial institutions to focus on traditional banking to help more families obtain the mortgage that buys their first home or the loan that starts a small business.
  • Free Annual Credit Freezes: Consumers would be able to freeze and unfreeze their credit in a timely manner, free of charge, and set year-long fraud alerts. Consumers would also gain control of who gets access to their credit reports. The Federal Trade Commission and the major credit bureaus would be required to set up webpages where consumers could easily freeze their credit, set a fraud alert, and opt-out of pre-approved credit offers. Donnelly suggested this idea to protect consumers after the massive Equifax data breach that may have compromised the personal information of approximately 145 million Americans.
  • Protecting Veterans Credit: This provision based off of Donnelly’s bipartisan Protecting Veterans Credit Actwould protect the credit ratings of veterans wrongly penalized by medical bill payment delays by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This measure would prohibit medical debt from services received through the Choice Program and other VA community care programs from being reported to credit reporting agencies for one year. In addition it would establish a dispute process for veterans seeking to remove adverse actions already on their reports.
  • Manufactured Housing: This includes a provision based on Donnelly’s bipartisan Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act, which would protect the ability of manufactured home customers to purchase affordable homes, while maintaining important consumer protections.

SOURCE: News release from the Office of Senator Joe Donnelly