"As not-for-profit financial cooperatives, Maine credit unions did not cause financial crisis, yet member owners are paying significant cost of regulatory burden," Maine CU League tells Congressman Poliquin in urging him to support Financial Choice Act

May 1, 2017

In communications to Congressman Bruce Poliquin, the Maine Credit Union League reported that regulatory burden has cost Maine credit unions $43.4 million and led to another $5.8 million in costs. The League is urging Congressman Poliquin to support the Financial Choice Act, which is being considered by the House Financial Services Committee, which the Congressman serves on, and would provide relief to credit unions and members.

“This cost breaks down to $819,000 per credit union and $75 per credit union member,” said Todd Mason, President of the Maine Credit Union League, adding, “These are dollars that could be flowing directly to members through lower rates on loans, higher rates on savings, or new services.  We urge Congressman Poliquin to become a co-sponsor of the Financial CHOICE Act of 2017, which is an important first step in providing common-sense regulatory relief to Maine’s credit unions."
The Financial CHOICE Act of 2017 was introduced last week by Representative Jeb Hensarling, who Chairs the House Financial Services Committee, and Congressman Poliquin serves as a member of the Committee.   “This bill contains a number of common sense provisions that will provide some financial regulatory relief for Maine’s credit unions, and enable us to better serve the 685,000 credit union members statewide.  This legislation is the first step to enacting legislation that meaningfully reduces credit unions’ regulatory burden and maintains important consumer protections,” added Mason, who spoke to Congressman Poliquin about the positive impact that this legislation would have on Maine’s credit unions.  
Kyle Casburn, President/CEO of Seabord FCU and Vice Chair of the Maine Credit Union League’s Board, explained, “The regulatory environment that ensued during and after the Great Recession created unnecessary and undue burden on small, community financial institutions such as Maine’s credit unions. We were collectively lumped into the same category as the money center banks on the vast majority of regulations, with no forethought about the time and cost for us to comply. The CHOICE Act will reasonably provide relief to Maine’s credit unions in many areas and strengthen the oversight of the CFPB.”
One of the most important components of the CHOICE Act for Maine’s credit union is a provision, which would repeal the Durbin Amendment.  “The Durbin amendment was  a last minute addition to the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010. This provision has cost credit unions and their members over a billion dollars since it was put in place. Though the retailers promised to lower prices in return for lower interchange fees, they have instead largely used these government-mandated price controls to pocket nearly $42 billion.  We would greatly appreciate and welcome Congressman Poliquin’s support and leadership on repealing this amendment that harms credit unions and our members,” noted Mason.