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Blaine’s Bulletin: Regulatory Relief in Congress

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Washington, December 15, 2017 | comments
It has been a busy and productive week in the House Financial Services Committee. We kicked the week off with a House vote on my legislation to end Operation Choke Point, held a hearing where we debated 13 pieces of legislation to reduce regulatory burdens, and passed additional legislation on the floor.
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It has been a busy and productive week in the House Financial Services Committee. We kicked the week off with a House vote on my legislation to end Operation Choke Point, held a hearing where we debated 13 pieces of legislation to reduce regulatory burdens, and passed additional legislation on the floor.

This week my House colleagues passed my bill, the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act, with a vote of 395-2. Operation Choke Point is a Department of Justice and Financial Deposit Insurance Corporation-led initiative that sought to divorce legal businesses from the financial services they need to survive. The bottom line is the federal government should not be able to intimidate financial institutions into dropping entire sectors of the economy as customers, based not on risk or evidence of wrongdoing, but purely on personal and political motivations. I am pleased my colleagues, once again, recognized the importance of this legislation and I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues so we can get this legislation on the president’s desk.

Additionally, the House passed the Community Institution Mortgage Relief Act with overwhelming bipartisan support. This is a common-sense piece of regulatory reform legislation that would help small financial institutions while appropriately balancing consumer protections. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s expansion of escrow requirements and guidance on mortgage servicing requirements has driven away community institutions. The bottom line is that we shouldn’t subject these smaller institutions to the same regulatory regime as larger ones. 

Lastly, the House passed the Privacy Notification Technical Clarification Act. This bill will extend relief to financial companies that operate in a manner similar to depository institutions – it is an extension of my legislation that was signed into law a couple of years ago. Simply put, this legislation requires depository institutions to provide privacy information to their customers only if they had changed any policy or practice related to that customer’s privacy. There’s also a requirement that the privacy notice must be made available to consumers in a variety of ways. Please note that consumers will continue to have access to privacy notices through online resources and billing statements. With the passage of this bill, information included in these mailings would likely be more significant to the consumer because they would only come after a change in privacy policy.

Regulatory relief  and common-sense reforms will put our economy on a sound path and give greater opportunity to all Americans. I will continue to work with my colleagues on the House Financial Services Committee and the House of Representatives to ensure we can achieve that.

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