Richard's Rapid Fire - May 26, 2017

May 26, 2017

Majority of Voters in Battleground States Want a Bipartisan Commission at the CFPB



CBA has long championed the belief the CFPB should be structured as a bipartisan commission. This week, new poll results released by Morning Consult, a well-respected, non-partisan polling firm, showed 58% of registered voters in eight battleground states agree with our position.

In fact, across party lines, a majority of voters (63% Democrats, 59% Republicans, and 54% Independents) support a commission.  Moreover, only 14% of voters said the CFPB should keep its current structure. With the 2018 elections coming up, members of Congress in key battleground states may find these results useful, as a clear majority of voters believe the best way forward for consumers and small businesses is through a commission made up of a diverse and bipartisan group of experts similar to that of the FDIC. Now is the time for lawmakers to act.

Read Cam Fine of ICBA and my op-ed in The Hill, and view key findings from the Morning Consult poll. The poll was commissioned by CBA as well as the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), and the American Land Title Association (ALTA).

Report: Interchange Price Control Will Remain Intact

In a blow to consumers’ wallets, House Republican leadership will strip language from the Financial CHOICE Act repealing the harmful Durbin Amendment, which sets price controls on bank interchange fees. Originally passing Congress by promising lower prices to consumers, the Durbin Amendment failed to deliver on promised savings. Once again, consumers have been left holding the bag while retailers have pocketed $42 billion and counting. CBA will continue to communicate to Members of Congress the importance of repealing Durbin.


CBA Goes to the White House to Talk Student Lending

This week, Team CBA met with senior leaders at the White House’s National Economic Council and Domestic Policy Council to discuss student lending issues. In addition to providing a lay of the land on the current student loan market, we shared a number of recommendations to right size the role of the federal government in the market and to improve student loan borrower outcomes. CBA will continue the conversation and share our expertise regarding President Trump’s budget, and how it may effect federal student lending programs. Thank you to Citizen Bank’s Michael McFarlane from our Education Funding Committee who joined us for this meeting.


PHH Case Still Up in the Air

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Wednesday held oral arguments on the PHH Corp v. CFPB case, which challenged the constitutionality of the CFPB’s governing structure and the legality of an amplified penalty against PHH. It looks like we may be waiting until the fall, or even Christmas before the case is decided. There is no doubt the court’s ruling on this case will significantly impact the future of the agency, but regardless of how the court rules, it is expected President Trump will appoint a new CFPB Director once Richard Cordray’s term expires in July, 2018.

Read our original statement from the court’s decision in October 2016, and also take a look at our amicus brief in the PHH RESPA case here.


Bank Consolidation May have Slowed, but it is Still Kickin’

If you caught this week’s news, Berkshire Hills Bancorp announced its acquisition of Massachusetts-based Commerce Bankshares. With a combined asset size of $12 billion, Berkshire will become the biggest state-chartered bank in Massachusetts. Within the same 24-hour window, Virginia-based Union Bankshares acquired Xenith Bankshares. The deal pushes Union over the $10 billion asset threshold, thereby subjecting the bank to various new regulations and CFPB supervision. While M&A activity may have slowed, the trend towards further bank consolidation is still alive and well.


Membership Spotlight: Meeting CBA Members in Atlanta

I was wheels up this week headed to Atlanta to visit with CBA family members SunTrust and Equifax. I always appreciate the opportunity to connect with our members, and was glad to discuss topics ranging from the CFPB to student lending to CBA’s committee structure during my visit to SunTrust. Great seeing SunTrust Chairman and CEO Bill Rogers, CBA’s Newest Board Member Ellen Koebler, executives Mark Chancy, Ray Fortin, and Theresa Hammond, and CBA Committee Members Angela Amberg, Ali Maher, Sue Mallino, John O’Neil, and Brian Opsahl, and former CBA Team Member Tom Crosson. And, yes, I had an opportunity to visit MLB’s newest stadium, SunTrust Park. As a lifelong Atlanta Braves baseball fan, I also am a stadium aficionado as well.

While in Atlanta, I also had time to catch up with Tom Jolly of Equifax to discuss banking issues.


Three Things to Know To Be in The Know

Battleground state voters favor CFPB commission, poll finds

Seeing another rate hike ‘soon,’ Fed outlines plan to reduce bond holdings, minutes show

Goldman's Donovan Pulls Out of No. 2 Treasury Job Nomination



Best of luck to Tom Lustig of PNC, Chair of CBA’s Education Funding Committee, and Ed Dwyer of U.S. Bank, Chair of CBA’s Risk Committee, in retirement. Both have been invaluable members of CBA, and contribute greatly to our committee structure. They will always be a part of the CBA family.


This week, CBA's Richard Hunt met with CBA Committee Members from SunTrust in Atlanta.