In February of this year President Trump issued Executive Order 13772 which ordered the Department of the Treasury to develop a report relating to U.S. financial regulations and how to make existing regulation consistent with a framework of Core Principles set out by the Administration. In doing so President Trump sought to make the financial system work for everyday Americans.
Secretary Steven Mnuchin directed the Treasury to make suggestions within the Report that would drive the Treasury to become more in line with the set of Core Principles. One major conclusion reached within the Report was that Section 1071 of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act should be repealed.
Section 1071 was passed as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act and while the rule still has yet to be implemented, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) under Director Richard Cordray has evidenced that a rulemaking will happen soon.
Section 1071 requires the CFPB to issue regulations that force financial institutions to collect and maintain data on consumers who apply for small business loans. Financial institutions are then required to report that data to the CFPB. Some of the data that is required to be collected includes the purpose of the loan, the race, sex, or ethnicity of the business owners, and if the businesses are minority or women-owned.
This regulation, while well intended, allows the CFPB to reach further into the private sector and would impose a new regime of unnecessary and burdensome costs that would hurt not only small financial institutions, but also financial consumers.
Section 1071 would increase borrowing costs for businesses, especially small ones, as the costs of compliance is passed through. Even though the CFPB’s reasoning for the rule is to prevent discriminatory lending practices, such practices are already against the law pursuant to the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), as well as a plethora of state fair lending laws.
The U.S. House this past June passed the Financial CHOICE Act (H.R. 10), which included provisions that would prevent this harmful rule from ever being enacted. However the Financial CHOICE Act faces an uphill battle in the Senate and CFPB Director Richard Cordray has made it clear that the rule is going to be implemented. Secretary Mnuchin’s suggestion to repeal this costly and duplicative rule is imperative for small businesses, their owners and the health of America’s small lenders. Lawmakers in Congress should follow suit.