December 1, 2023

Graves Signs On As ACRE Co-Sponsor

Congressman Sam Graves is the first lawmaker from Missouri to co-sponsor bipartisan legislation that would make it easier for farmers, ranchers and rural families to access low-cost credit.

Graves signed on as co-sponsor of the Access to Credit for our Rural Economy Act that was introduced in the U.S. House earlier this year. Known as ACRE, the legislation would give community banks the same tax-exempt status on certain earned interest that applies to farm credit institutions, allowing farm real estate borrowers and rural homeowners access to lower interest rates. The exemption also would apply to single-family home mortgage loans in rural communities with fewer than 2,500 residents and for mortgages less than $750,000.

“We thank Congressman Graves for endorsing this bipartisan bill that provides critical economic support to rural communities in Missouri,” said MBA President and CEO Jackson Hataway.

Hataway credits MBA members for Graves’ sponsorship. Several MBA members discussed ACRE with Graves at his office on Capitol Hill in October during MBA’s Washington Visit, and more bankers contacted Graves to express their support for ACRE.

“Every call, text, email and visit to Congressman Graves from our members played a vital role in his decision to sponsor ACRE,” Hataway said.

MBA encourages its members to contact other members of Missouri’s congressional delegation to urge them to co-sponsor ACRE.

Wagner, Luetkemeyer Press CFPB’s Chopra on Proposals, Regulation

Two Missouri congressional members grilled the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about several of the agency’s initiatives when the director appeared before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday for a congressional oversight hearing.

Congresswoman Ann Wagner questioned CFPB Director Rohit Chopra about the agency’s proposed rulemaking to limit credit card late fees.

“The CFPB credit card late fee proposed rule attempts to help a small number of credit card customers at the expense of a vast majority of other cardholders who never pay late, which the CFPB’s own data and report indicates is 74% of all Americans with credit cards will not benefit from reduced fees,” Wagner said. “And according to the proposed rule, they could experience, and I quote, ‘higher maintenance fees and lower rewards.’”

Chopra responded that the CFPB analysis contained “different permutations” on the effects on cardholders.

Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer questioned Chopra on his management of the CFPB and his attempts to expand powers as a regulator, emphasizing that “regulation is running downhill and choking small institutions.”

“Taken together, we’re looking at massive losses of revenue coupled with very large additional costs of compliance. All of this results in higher costs, fewer banking services for consumers, and fewer financial institutions to provide those services – all while giving the government more control over our personal finances,” Luetkemeyer said.

House Approves Resolution to Overturn CFPB Small Business Data Collection Rule

The House voted 221-202 Thursday to approve a resolution of disapproval seeking to overturn the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s final rule implementing Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which requires the collection and reporting of credit application data for small businesses, including women-owned and minority-owned small businesses.

Among Missouri’s House delegation, six voted in favor of the resolution: Reps. Mark Alford, Eric Burlison, Sam Graves, Blaine Luetkemeyer, Jason Smith and Ann Wagner.

“We applaud the efforts of the House to address CFPB overreach and ease the unnecessary burden this rule would place on Missouri banks and their customers,” said MBA President and CEO Jackson Hataway.

The Senate passed the resolution in October. Missouri Sens. Josh Hawley and Eric Schmitt voted in favor of the resolution. It has been reported that President Biden would likely veto the legislation.

Luetkemeyer: Fighting the Misguided Credit Card Competition Act

With legislation in Congress seeking to eliminate credit card interchange fees, Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer asks why measures like these are “still popping up” when there is “no evidence of benefits to the economy or everyday Americans.”

In his op-ed, Luetkemeyer briefly explains that since the Durbin Amendment in the Dodd-Frank Act capped interchange fees on debit cards, proponents have pushed to do the same with credit cards through the Credit Card Competition Act.

“What they fail to acknowledge is how not a single consumer benefited from the debit cap. In fact, it was just the opposite,” Luetkemeyer writes. “Consumers who once enjoyed cash back or other rewards on their debit cards lost those benefits. Free checking largely disappeared, fees increased, and minimum balance requirements became more prevalent.”

He adds that the Credit Card Competition Act would cut services and benefits without achieving savings for consumers, noting the consequences would be “even more devastating for consumers.”

“What proponents of the Credit Card Competition Act apparently do not understand is that services cost money. When you eliminate the ability to pay for a service, you eliminate the service itself. Interchange is no different,” Luetkemeyer writes. “Reports about credit card rewards disappearing are true — an account would not earn or obtain points if the charge doesn’t occur on the point provider’s network — but the loss of fraud protection would be devastating to small retailers and consumers.”

Luetkemeyer encourages individuals to share with their representatives their views on the legislation.

MOBUCK$ Application Portal To Reopen Jan. 2

Missouri State Treasurer Vivek Malek announced the application portal for the MOBUCK$ program will reopen at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 2. The application portal has been closed since May because the amount of total deposits under this program was near or at the statutory cap of $800 million.

When the application portal reopens, roughly $125 million in deposits will be made available, and the cap per borrower will be $5 million instead of $10 million. Lowering the per borrower limit is intended to allow more Missourians to use this important program. The treasurer’s office does anticipate demand will exceed $125 million.

In addition, high demand could lengthen application processing times. To help increase efficiency, the treasurer's office advises banks to plan accordingly and submit completed applications with all supporting documentation.

The treasurer’s office is currently reviewing program rules, and there may be additional rule changes. If this occurs, the treasurer’s office will share these changes via email by mid-December.

Prefiling Opens Today for 2024 State Legislative Session

Today marks the unofficial start to the 2024 state legislative session as lawmakers are allowed to prefile bills. As lawmakers prefile their bills, MBA staff is monitoring and reviewing proposed measures affecting the banking industry. A full list of pre-filed House bills is posted online; no bills have been posted on the Senate’s website at this time. The state legislative session officially kicks off Wednesday, Jan. 3.

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