Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly, member of the Senate Banking Committee, announced today that he and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, along with several Senate colleagues, have crafted and reached a bipartisan agreement to reduce regulatory burdens on community banks and credit unions as well as provide new protections to consumers. Donnelly, Crapo, and three other members of the Banking Committee have engaged in bipartisan discussions over the past two weeks and previously produced a framework for a deal in 2015.
Donnelly, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, said, “This bipartisan regulatory relief package is an example of what we can achieve when we work together, and the result of good-faith negotiations with Chairman Crapo, Senators Tester, Warner, and Heitkamp. The proposal would provide long-awaited regulatory relief to community banks and credit unions unintentionally burdened by rules intended to hold Wall Street accountable. This agreement would maintain the safety of our financial system and offer new protections to consumers, including veterans, by helping to protect their credit in the wake of recent data breaches, like the Equifax breach."
Crapo, Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee said, “A strong and vibrant economy is important for American consumers, businesses, and the stability of the financial sector. The bipartisan proposals on which we have agreed will significantly improve our financial regulatory framework and foster economic growth by right-sizing regulation, particularly for smaller financial institutions and community banks. I thank Senators Heitkamp, Donnelly, Tester and Warner for their hard work in reaching this agreement, and I look forward to continuing our work with all members of the Banking Committee to achieve a robust, bipartisan legislative product.”
Donnelly helped write and voted for Dodd-Frank when he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and continues to support the important reforms included in the law. The proposal announced today is carefully written to provide needed regulatory relief to main street—community banks and credit unions—which were inadvertently burdened by rules and regulations intended to hold Wall Street accountable. This package would promote economic growth by making commonsense reforms to increase consumer lending, while protecting consumers.
Among provisions in the regulatory relief package are several Donnelly-led and Donnelly-supported measures that would benefit Hoosiers:
- Community Banks and Credit Unions: This package includes a number of provisions related to community banks and credit unions that would increase their ability to extend credit to Hoosier small businesses and families, while maintaining important consumer protections.
- Free Annual Credit Freeze for Consumers: This provision pushed by Donnelly would require credit bureaus to include one free credit freeze and a free credit unfreeze per year. Donnelly suggested this idea to protect consumers after the massive Equifax data breach that may have compromised the personal information of approximately 145 million Americans.
- Protecting Veterans Credit: This provision based off of Donnelly’s bipartisan Protecting Veterans Credit Act would protect the credit ratings of veterans wrongly penalized by medical bill payment delays by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This measure would prohibit medical debt from services received through the Choice Program and other VA community care programs from being reported to credit reporting agencies for one year. In addition it would establish a dispute process for veterans seeking to remove adverse actions already on their reports.
- Manufactured Housing: This includes a provision based on Donnelly’s bipartisan Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act, which would protect the ability of manufactured home customers to purchase affordable homes, while maintaining important consumer protections.
Donnelly’s, Warner’s, Tester’s, and Heitkamp’s recent negotiations with Chairman Crapo over the last two weeks built on their efforts in 2015 when they crafted a similar regulatory relief package with Senators Crapo, Corker, and Moran. The 2015 effort included 12 meetings among the Senators, four discussions with then-Treasury Secretary Lew, discussions with Fed. Gov. Tarullo, and more than 25 staff meetings to develop the framework for regulatory relief. Though the entire package was rejected by then-Senate Banking Chairman Shelby, several provisions were ultimately enacted. This regulatory relief package built off Donnelly’s previous work. In the past two-plus years Donnelly has participated in more than 20 Banking Committee hearings to discuss economic growth and reducing regulatory burdens.