Banking Regulators are Independent—And Should Stay that Way

Do you believe that Congress should dictate how agencies regulate big banks, credit unions and Wall Street?

NTEU does not. The banking regulators that NTEU represents are independent—which means the money that funds them largely comes from the fees paid by the banks and credit unions they regulate rather than the congressional appropriations process. 

This structure was designed to allow the agencies to operate without political influence and to be able to protect and insure depositors, and it has worked for decades.

Some in Congress are trying to change that. There is one free-standing bill (H.R. 10), approved by the House, that would move these agencies into the appropriations process giving Congress control over the money. Similar proposals are contained in the financial services appropriations bill moving through the House.

This is bad news for you and anyone else who has a credit card, a mortgage or money deposited in the bank. In other words, pretty much everyone.

Here is the risk: with control of the money that funds the agencies lawmakers can retaliate against an agency action—say, a fine against a banking institution or pay-day lender—by denying the agency the money to operate. That is not how the process should work and it opens up consumers and our banking  system to a level of political interference that will do much harm and little good.

One major target of the congressional members leading this charge is the Consumer Financial Protection Agency which has a record of success in watching out for, and assisting, everyday consumers. It was CFPB that went after the Wells Fargo scheme where bank employees opened up new accounts in the names of unsuspecting customers and it was CFPB that returned $11.8 billion to consumers because of its enforcement actions. All that is six short years.

NTEU is standing up for the independence of banking regulators across government and our members who do this work. We are proud of their efforts at keeping the financial system fair and open to everyone.

Along with CFPB, NTEU represents employees at:

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

National Credit Union Administration

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

Ask your members of Congress to retain the independence of the banking regulators