Credit Union Journal: Should industry fear Waters-led banking panel?

Credit Union Journal, November 7, 2018: Should industry fear Waters-led banking panel? 

Observers say a Waters-led panel could showcase her broad legislative experience, which might mean a more moderate approach and reaching across the aisle on issues ranging from housing finance reform to updating the Community Reinvestment Act.

Her tone toward the administration would likely creep into her leadership of the House committee, observers say, with a new emphasis on challenging Trump’s deregulatory agenda, rebuking big banks, challenging the administration’s regulatory appointees, proposing stronger consumer protections and backing affordable housing initiatives.

A Waters committee would also be expected to have a stronger focus on consumer issues, particularly measures that protect lower-income and minority families and seek to give them greater access to the financial system. This could also mean even more headlines criticizing the policies of the biggest banks, such as the numerous scandals facing Wells Fargo.

“The agenda is much about the bully pulpit and drawing attention to the deregulatory agenda that has been pursued over the last year,” said Jesse Van Tol, chief executive officer of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition. “Waters has a long history of fighting for her district and for minority communities across the country. Certainly she expresses a lot of leadership in the Congressional Black Caucus. I do think that there’s a heightened awareness of what’s happening in low and moderate income communities and communities of color.”

One key issue Waters has been focused on has been the CRA, a 40-year-old law that regulators and other stakeholders say should be modernized.

While Waters would likely prioritize the concerns of community groups in any CRA reform effort, observers said modernizing the law could be another opportunity where she might work across the aisle with GOP members and Trump-appointed regulators.

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