President’s Point: Financial CHOICE Act

Last Thursday, the U.S House of Representatives passed the Financial CHOICE Act, sending the legislation to the Senate for consideration. As the full House prepared for a vote, members of the Florida and Alabama Congressional delegations went on the record regarding how increased regulatory burden born of Dodd-Frank, has impacted local, hometown financial institutions, as well as the communities they represent.

Last week Florida Congressman Dennis Ross penned a guest column for Florida Politics on the need to give community banks and credit unions Financial CHOICE. In the article, Rep. Ross wrote “When the Dodd-Frank Act was enacted, it was sold to the American people as a solution to the financial crisis that would hold Wall Street banks and bad actors in the financial services arena accountable. In the years since its enactment, however, big banks have grown larger, and small banks and credit unions across Central Florida and the rest of the country have suffered. In fact, community financial institutions are disappearing at an average rate of one per day.This is because the large Wall Street banks are the only ones with the manpower and resources to navigate the complex Dodd-Frank regulatory environment.”

As a member of the House Financial Services Committee, Congressman Ross has always been there for credit unions when we needed him. In the article he went on to say “In May 2015, the American Action Forum estimated the Dodd-Frank Act would reduce U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) by $895 billion between 2016 and 2025. In 2016, the U.S. saw only 1.6 percent GDP growth. The impact the Dodd-Frank Act is having on our GDP is not only affecting Wall Street banks and financial institutions, it is harming hard-working blue-collar families across Central Florida and the Tampa Bay Region. To reverse this trend, and instead grow our economy and provide relief to community banks and credit unions from the crushing burden of over-regulation, I am proud to support the Financial CHOICE Act.”

Also last week, Alabama Congressman Martha Roby took to the House floor to talk about how hometown lenders are “paying the price” for the 2009 financial crisis. Congressman Roby urged her colleagues to support the Financial CHOICE Act which seeks to untangle much of the regulatory web known as Dodd-Frank. In her comments, “Homegrown banks can’t keep up with the crazy compliance costs that Dodd-Frank mandates,” Roby said. “Here’s an example: At one credit union in Alabama’s Wiregrass region, their compliance department has tripled in size. They estimate that these new costs have limited their growth by as much as $60 million dollars. That’s not right. Hometown lenders in Alabama didn’t cause the financial crisis of 2009, but now they and their customers are paying the price.”

Our fight for meaningful regulatory reform now moves to the U.S. Senate where we will need 60 votes to overcome a filibuster. There’s a great amount of work left to be done, and we will need strong engagement from credit unions to have success, but pushing this legislation through the House was no small feat. Below is the list of how the members of our House delegations voted. Please take a few moments to thank those you voted for the CHOICE Act.

Alabama Yes: Aderholt, Brooks, Byrne, Palmer, Roby, Rogers. Alabama No: Sewell.  Florida Yes: Bilirakis, Buchanan, Curbelo, DeSantis, Diaz-Balart, Dunn, Gaetz, Mast, Posey, Rooney, F, Rooney, T, Ros-Lehtinen, Ross, Rutherford, Webster, Yoho.  Florida No: Castor, Crist, Deutch, Demings, Frankel, Hastings, Lawson, Murphy, Soto, Wasserman Schultz, Wilson.