A group of bipartisan lawmakers is asking Congress to set aside $50 billion to provide local governments with money to help small businesses recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic—bypassing financial institutions that have been criticized for failing to help the smallest businesses with the Paycheck Protection Program.
House Recovery Bill Ignores NCUA Requests for Member Business Lending Boost, Capital Requirements Decrease
The coronavirus relief bill unveiled by House Democrats Tuesday would not increase the credit union Member Business Loan cap or decrease capital standards—two major priorities of the NCUA and credit union trade groups.
The $3 trillion, 1,800-page bill includes about $1 trillion in aid to states and local government, as well as extended unemployment benefits and additional stimulus payments to taxpayers. It also would provide a safe harbor for financial institutions providing services to marijuana-related business.
Amid some opposition from a key Democrat, NCUA Chairman Rodney Hood told the Senate Banking Committee Tuesday that Congress should decrease capital standards for credit unions, as they respond to economic problems caused by the coronavirus crisis.
Hood said that he would like Congress to authorize a temporary reduction in minimum capital requirements—reducing the level at which credit unions are considered well capitalized from a net-worth ratio of 7% to 6%. He said that the level for “adequately capitalized” credit unions should be cut from 6% to 5%.
Democrats are renewing their call for more rigid Paycheck Protection Program set-asides for credit union and community banks, following reports from a government watchdog contending that program funds may not be reaching the neediest businesses.
“Not only did [the Small Business Administration] fail to issue guidance to prioritize the paycheck loan applications of underserved and rural small businesses, the agency implemented a ‘first-come, first-served’ policy that made it harder for vulnerable small businesses to access PPP,” Senate Small Business Committee ranking Democrat Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said, following the release of a report by the Small Business Administration’s Inspector General.
Postal banking is back.
As policymakers battle over how to deal with the mounting losses facing the United States Postal Service, supporters of a plan to allow post offices to provide basic financial services are renewing their arguments that postal banking could help save the system.
NCUA Chairman Rodney Hood will join other financial regulators when they testify before the Senate Banking Committee on May 12.
Democratic senators on Monday demanded that CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger abandon efforts to overhaul the agency’s controversial payday lending rule, contending that political appointees exerted improper influence in the process.
Clashing with NCUA Chairman Rodney Hood, board member Todd Harper is asking Congress not to reduce credit union capital standards in response to the coronavirus crisis.
“Reductions in capital standards could ultimately lead to greater losses for the Share Insurance Fund, which all surviving federally insured credit unions would need to pay,” Harper wrote to leaders of the House and Senate committees with NCUA oversight powers.
House Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) is firing back at lawmakers who have called for allowing installment and payday lenders to be eligible for Paycheck Protection Loans, contending that such companies engage in predatory lending practices.
Congress should expand the ability of all credit unions to serve underserved areas, NCUA Chairman Rodney Hood wrote this week, as he sent Senate Banking Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Id.) a list of legislative changes he believes will help the agency respond to the coronavirus crisis.