President Trump Thursday signed into law the bipartisan community banking regulatory relief package that U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly negotiated, co-wrote, and helped introduce last November. The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act passed the Senate in March and the House of Representative earlier this week.
President Trump Thursday called the law “a very, very important bill from a standpoint of people, and jobs, and loans, and getting out there and building a business.” The law reduces regulatory burdens on the 103 community banks and 154 credit unions in Indiana and provides new protections to consumers, veterans, and servicemembers.
Donnelly, a member of the Senate Banking Committee who co-authored the law, said, “With this bipartisan package becoming law, community banks and credit unions across Indiana can now spend more time providing mortgages to Hoosier families and helping small businesses expand and less time on unnecessary regulations and red tape. This package leaves in place the core safeguards intended to protect our financial system, while creating several new consumer protections related to student loans, free credit freezes, credit monitoring for servicemembers, and protections for veterans from VA billing delays and predatory mortgage lending. This law is an example of what we can achieve when we work together and break through gridlock.”
Kevin Brinegar, President and CEO of the Indiana Chamber, said on Twitter, “The Indiana Chamber is pleased Sen. Joe Donnelly helped lead the way to remove excessive regulations for banks and credit unions, as well as make access to funds easier for Hoosiers looking to buy a home or small businesses needing that infusion of capital…”
Amber Van Til, President and CEO of the Indiana Bankers Association, said, “The Indiana Bankers Association stands with industry advocates nationwide in praising our lawmakers for passage of S. 2155, and in thanking President Trump for signing this historic bill into law. This bill is destined to live up to its name – the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act – by allowing banks to help grow the economy through lessened regulatory burden, while keeping important consumer protections in place. We extend special thanks to Sen. Joe Donnelly, whose leadership throughout the legislative process helped inspire others to put politics aside and vote for the betterment of consumers, communities and the U.S. economy.”
John McKenzie, President of the Indiana Credit Union League, said, “Now that this legislation is law, we look forward to Indiana’s member-owned, not-for-profit credit unions and their 2.4 million members benefitting from reduced unnecessary regulatory burdens and increased flexibility to serve members–especially in the areas of mortgage lending and loans to local businesses. This legislation will help consumers and businesses served by credit unions. Senator Donnelly’s leadership in Congress by co-writing and securing bipartisan support for the legislation has been crucial to make it possible for it to move forward.”
Ron Breymier, Executive Director of the Indiana Manufactured Housing Association and the Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council, said, “Senator Joe Donnelly’s efforts to provide regulatory relief for the manufactured housing industry and consumers is a major victory for those seeking affordable home ownership. The revisions of the Dodd-Frank Act found in S. 2155 clarifies that a manufactured home retailer or seller is not inappropriately considered a mortgage “loan originator” for providing basic assistance in the mortgage loan process. That single provision resulted in limited choices for low and moderate-income families seeking financing for quality affordable housing. Fortunately, manufactured home retailers and sellers will now be able to give simple assistance on mortgages just like realtors. Senator Donnelly deserves credit for his bi-partisan hard work on this successful bill.”
Donnelly helped write and voted for the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010 when he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and continues to support the important reforms included in the law. Donnelly’s bill maintains the key elements of Dodd-Frank to ensure the safety and soundness of our financial system.
This bipartisan regulatory relief package 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 mortgage and small business lending, while protecting consumers. Federal banking regulators have reported that the number of small business loans is down 41 percent since 2008.
The bipartisan Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act garnered 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,
- Indiana Association of Realtors,
- Indiana Manufactured Housing Association-Recreational Vehicle Indiana Council (IMHA-RVIC),
- Indiana Builders 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,
- Mid-Size Bank Coalition of America,
- National Association of Home Builders,
- National Association of REALTORS,
- Third Way,
- National Federation of Independent Business, and
- Bipartisan Policy Center.
The legislative package also received positive comments from respected experts such as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, and former Federal Reserve Chair Paul Volcker, among others.
Donnelly-led and Donnelly-supported measures in the package that will benefit Hoosiers:
- Increasing Community Banking: The law includes a number of provisions related to community banks and credit unions that will increase their ability to extend credit to Hoosier small businesses and families. Donnelly-authored provisions, include the “Qualified Mortgage” provision to boost mortgage lending, and longer exam cycles for highly-rated community banks. These provisions allow small financial institutions to focus on traditional banking to help more families obtain mortgages and small business loans.
- Responding to the Equifax Breach: This provision will allow consumers, free of charge, to freeze and unfreeze their credit and set year-long fraud alerts. 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 pursued these reforms to protect consumers after the massive Equifax data breach that may have compromised the personal information of approximately 145 million Americans.
- Protecting Servicemembers: This provision provides free credit monitoring for all active-duty servicemembers.
- Defending Veterans Credit: This provision, based on a bipartisan bill Donnelly previously introduced, ensures veterans are not wrongly penalized by medical bill payment delays by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
- Offering Student Loan Fairness: This provision discharges student loan debt from parent co-signers in the event of student borrower death or bankruptcy. And, another Donnelly-authored provision, based on previously introduced legislation, require Treasury’s Financial Literacy Commission to develop best practices for colleges to assist students making financial decisions related to borrowing.
- Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing: This provision, based on Donnelly’s bipartisan Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act, will ensure consumers can receive general financing information from retailers in order to purchase affordable homes.
- Stopping Predatory VA Re-financings: This provision, based on a bill Donnelly helped introduce, will protect veterans from targeted predatory home loan practices by requiring lenders to demonstrate a material benefit to consumers when refinancing their mortgage.
- Supporting Lead Remediation: A Donnelly-authored provision requires HUD to report on its lead-based paint hazard prevention and abatement policies, best practices, and enforcement to better protect the health and safety of children. Another provision allows existing Treasury Hardest Hit funds to be used for lead and asbestos remediation.