Posted April 11, 2016
NACHA GR Releases Congressional Outlook for April
NACHA’s GR team has compiled a summary highlighting anticipated upcoming Congressional activity, updated as of April 2016.
April Senate Outlook
The April update to the Senate Outlook is now available. For a third consecutive election cycle, there is a possibility that control of the United States Senate could change. The 2010, 2012, and 2014 cycles all saw extensive changes in the composition of the Senate, with Republicans growing their representation from 40 to 54 Seats. The 2016 cycle represents the first time the Class of 2010, the “Obamacare” class, will stand for reelection. Given the wave nature of 2010, Republicans are defending several seats in Purple and Blue states, creating a wide and competitive Senate playing field.
Deputy Treasury Secretary Raskin at the Cybersecurity Docket’s Incident Response Forum 2016
On March 31, 2016, U.S. Department of the Treasury Deputy Secretary, Sarah Bloom Raskin, delivered remarks at the inaugural Cybersecurity Docket’s Incident Response Forum pertaining to the strength and security of the United States’ financial structure as well as the financial sector’s response and recovery in the case of a widespread cyberattack. Raskin indicated that one of the greatest challenges in such an event would be the possible domino effect enabled by the increase of third-party financial technology service providers between financial institutions. "A cyber criminal infiltrates a bank using a ransomware payload that freezes files and data, and blocks the bank's ability to access its books and records and other critical business systems," said Raskin. "While initially only impacting the individual bank, the interconnectedness of the financial sector – through payment systems or third-party vendors processing transactions, providing cloud-computing services, or operating mobile solutions – leads to actual or perceived contagion throughout the sector."
NACHA GR staff has met with Treasury on this matter in an effort to help educate policymakers on the ACH Network.
CFPB Delays Prepaid Card Rules
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has pushed back its timeframe for finalizing its new rules for prepaid cards (proposed in late 2014), to possibly this May or June. The final rules which will aim at providing prepaid card account holders with better disclosures as well as protections from spending more than they have already deposited into their prepaid accounts, are expected to precede the bureau’s release of its final payday lending rules (also now delayed until late spring).
OCC Shares Thoughts on Responsible Innovation
On March 31, 2016, the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) simultaneously issued a new white paper on “Responsible Innovation in the Federal Banking System” and announced its Forum on Innovation (to be held June 23 in in Washington DC) while Comptroller of the Currency, Thomas J. Curry, gave a speech on the same subject at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. While Curry expressed in his remarks that it is "essential that we approach innovation in a thoughtful and responsible way that guards against risk to consumers and threats to the financial system,” overall the OCC’s perspective seems to be optimistic about the future.
OCC is soliciting feedback on how it can further facilitate innovation for businesses, consumers and communities and is accepting comments on the white paper until May 31, 2016.
Senate Banking Committee Hearing: “Assessing the Effects of Consumer Finance Regulation”
On April 5, 2016 – the Senate Banking Committee conducted a hearing entitled “Assessing the Effects of Consumer Finance Regulations”, which featured a panel of four witnesses, three of whom represented the financial services industry’s views on consumer finance issues.
GAO Releases Report on State Marijuana Legalization
On April 5, 2016, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report entitled “State Marijuana Legalization: DOJ Should Document Its Approach to Monitoring the Effects of Legalization”.
Senate Banking Committee Hearing: “CFPB Director Cordray Presents Semi Annual Report to Congress”
On April 7, 2016 – the Senate Banking Committee conducted a hearing entitled “The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Semi-Annual Report to Congress”, which featured the testimony of CFPB Director Cordray. Major themes included the impending CFPB rules on prepaid cards, arbitration, payday lending and data collection by the agency.
Senators Introduce the SAFE Lending Act of 2016
On April 7, 2016, Top Senate Democrats reintroduced the Stopping Abuse and Fraud in Electronic (SAFE) Lending Act which would crack down on some of the payday lending industry’s worst abuses (especially online) against consumers. The proposed legislation aims at restricting payday lenders’ access to consumer bank accounts, permitting borrowers to cancel auto-withdrawals in order to pay off loans, requiring payday lenders to register with the CFPB and banning overdraft fees on some of these lenders’ prepaid cards as well as banning certain misleading loan websites.
Legislative Tool Kit
House 2016 Calendar (also in bottom right hand bar)
Senate 2016 Calendar (also in bottom right hand bar)