December 05, 2017

Crapo Statement at Markup of S. 2155, the “Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act.”

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, today delivered the following remarks during a full committee markup of S. 2155, the “Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act.”

The text of Chairman Crapo’s remarks, as prepared, is below.

“In March, the Banking Committee issued a request for legislative proposals to help foster economic growth.

“We received over 100 submissions from a broad array of commenters.

“We held bipartisan briefings and public hearings with stakeholders across the spectrum, vetting potential ideas for right-sizing regulation.

“We also conducted negotiations at all levels on the main provisions included in the final package.

“Our first hearing explored the role of financial companies in fostering economic growth with former regulator and consumer group witnesses, including the chief economist of AFL-CIO.

“At our next two hearings, we examined proposals that would tailor existing laws and regulations to ensure that they are proportionate and appropriate for small financial institutions, as well as midsize and regional banks.

“Then in June, the financial regulators came before this Committee and provided feedback on their EGRPRA report and the proposals discussed in previous hearings. 

“This Committee also held numerous hearings in prior years exploring many of these same issues, including a series of hearings in 2015.

“The bill we are marking up today, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act, is the outgrowth of the feedback and input garnered from this process, previous Congressional hearings, and discussions and input from members of this committee.

“I thank each member of this committee for their interest and involvement in the many discussions, hearings and personal conversations to help improve this bill. 

“For community banks and credit unions, we: extend QM safe harbor status to loans held in portfolio by small lenders; provide substantial relief from HMDA reporting requirements; simplify the capital regime for highly-capitalized community banks; and exempt banks with less than $10 billion in total assets from the Volcker rule.

“For mid-size and regional banks, we: tailor regulations and prudential standards of banking organizations by changing the $50 billion SIFI threshold. Banks with less than $100 billion in assets, who do not pose the same risks as globally systemic banks, are exempt from enhanced prudential standards. Banks between $100 and $250 billion are presumed exempt 18 months after enactment, but the Federal Reserve retains authority to apply enhanced prudential standards if appropriate. In addition, the Fed will still be required to conduct periodic supervisory stress tests of such banks.

“The bill also ensures that key consumer protections remain in place, while bolstering and  increasing protections for consumers who fall on hard financial times or become victims of fraud.

“Following the Equifax data breach, we held two credit bureau hearings.

“These hearings demonstrated bipartisan support for: free credit freezes and unfreezes; and additional protections for veterans, senior citizens, and people who fall on tough financial times.

“Introduced by 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats, including 13 members of this committee, this package of commonsense reforms recognizes that it is important to tailor regulation appropriately, especially for community banks, credit unions and regional banks.

“The bill has received widespread support from commentators, regulators, businesses, and institutions representing millions of hard working Americans and consumers, including over 10,000 community bankers, more than 100 million credit union consumer members, and thousands of small business owners and entrepreneurs, among others.

“At this time, I ask unanimous consent to enter into the record the support letters we have received from various stakeholders, including: The Credit Union National Association; The Independent Community Bankers of America; The Insured Retirement Institute;

The Mid-Size Bank Coalition; The National Association of Federal Credit Unions; The National Association of Home Builders; The U.S. Chamber of Commerce; The Mortgage Bankers Association; and others.

“As I mentioned, federal regulators have also been supportive of our efforts.

“Last week, Federal Reserve Governor Powell said that he agreed that this bill will provide significant regulatory relief, while still giving the Federal Reserve the authority it needs to supervise institutions.

“A day later, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, testifying before the Joint Economic Committee, said that under the bill, the Fed would still be able to impose enhanced prudential standards on firms, if necessary, and that the bill is ‘a move in a direction that would be good in enabling [the Fed] to appropriately tailor [its] supervision.’

“Financial regulation should promote safety and soundness while enabling a vibrant and growing economy.

“The bill we are marking up today is the product of a thorough, robust process, and honest, bipartisan negotiations.

“All of the sponsors have worked in good faith to include provisions from those who have offered them, including those who do not support the bill. And we will continue to do so after this markup.

“The reforms in this bipartisan bill help tailor the current regulatory landscape, while ensuring safety and soundness and relieving the burden on American businesses that are unfairly being treated like the largest companies in our economy.  

“The passage of this legislation holds real promise for families across America, and I look forward to marking up this bill today and moving it onto the Senate Floor.”