Small financial institutions like community banks and credit unions play key roles in a competitive consumer financial products and services marketplace. They are community members as well, often personally connected to the customers they serve. Each week, we hope to highlight the interaction the consumer bureau has had with these smaller institutions.
Last week, Elizabeth Warren met in Rosemont, Illinois, with twenty members of the Community Bankers Association of Illinois (CBAI). She discussed the consumer bureau’s priorities and highlighted the Office of Community Banks and Credit Unions. This office is dedicated to communicating with small financial service providers about their concerns, feedback, and suggestions.
The bankers from CBAI expressed concerns about possible increases in their regulatory burden. They cited how mortgage forms have changed over the last few decades as an example of why they are concerned. One banker demonstrated how these forms have grown more complex over time by comparing forms used decades ago with forms used today. Today’s forms are noticeably more complex. The CFPB is working on a mortgage disclosure project that will make it easier for families to see the costs and risks upfront and give them the tools to help them make the choices that are right for them.
The CBAI bankers also asked about the consumer bureau’s plans for supervising non-bank financial institutions. They echoed one of the CFPB’s top priorities: ensuring all institutions compete on a level playing field.
Elizabeth Warren also spoke with several bankers from the Community Bankers of Washington. They shared the CFPB’s belief that financial literacy is essential, and they stressed the need for a robust and diversified banking industry. They also asked about how often the CFPB must report to Congress, a question which a lot of people may want answered. By law, the consumer bureau must submit reports to Congress twice a year on matters relating to its budget and activities, in addition to submitting several other issue-specific reports specified by Congress.
Elizabeth Vale is the Assistant Director of External Affairs for Small Business and Community Banks.