News Feed

Capitol Hill Developments and Agency Announcements

Mon, Dec 5, 2016

Columbia, Maryland

TAX REFORM:
Last week, House Ways and Means Chairman, Kevin Brady, spoke at a Think Tank sponsored conference.  He said several things of interest about tax reform that are worth noting:

 

  • He did not mention credit union taxation at all.
  • Stated that tax reform would come with "significant trade-offs," but urged those concerned about losing their favorite provisions to focus on the broader benefits of a revamped code.
  • More controversial items, such as business interest deduction, deduction for state and local taxes, were “certain to be part of the debate on tax reform. By necessity, the hard choices will have to be made.”
  • Brady commented that "the only way to lower rates for everybody is to eliminate the hundreds of special tax provisions for some. While some would like to have fights over individual provisions in the tax code, the debate that we're looking for…is whether Americans want something this fair, simple and understandable and are we willing to make the trade-offs to get there, or want to stick with the status quo.”  
  • On bi-partisanship, Brady said "we're going to offer a wide-open opportunity for our Democratic [colleagues] to bring their best ideas forward and engage on tax reform. If they'll take the opportunity…but we're going to open that door in a major way. While reconciliation (which needs only 51 votes to pass the Senate) may ultimately be the only option, we're going to start differently."

Hill Republicans also don't know yet where tax reform will fit in next year's agenda. Chairman Brady’s stated goal is to introduce their tax reform plan in early 2017, but also recognized that it could be a year-long effort.

CFPB:
In Congressional regulatory related news, House and Senate Democrats urged a federal court to hear an appeal on the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In a friend-of-the-court filing, the lawmakers said a ruling against CFPB last month "fundamentally altered the CFPB and hampered its ability to function as Congress intended."

"The panel's decision is at odds not only with the text and history of the Constitution, but also with long-standing Supreme Court precedent — yet another reason why this case presents a question of 'exceptional importance'," the lawmakers wrote. The amicus brief was signed by more than 21 House and Senate members, including Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings. 

DEBIT CARD LOSSES:
The Federal Reserve Board released a report on fraud loss related on debit card transactions.  The report sited that losses are up 44% from 2013 to 2015.  The Fed says it’s partially due to an increase in transaction volume, but it also can be attributed to a 28% increase in fraud loss as a percentage of transaction.  

Also of note, the average cost of authorizing, clearing and settling debit card transactions was slightly reduced from 2013 to 2015, dropping from 4.6 cents to 4.2 cents. If any positive can be taken away from these numbers it is in the thought that they help arm us in our continuing association and system-wide push for data security legislation in 2017 — helping us keep the issue front and center with legislators 

BANKING PROFITS:
In other news, it appears that the banking industry will have a happy holiday. The FDIC released Quarterly Banking Profile information pointing to a Net Income Rise to $45.6 Billion at FDIC-Insured Institutions In 3Q 2016.

  • Community Bank Net Income Rises to $5.6 Billion
  • Banking Industry Net Income is $5.2 Billion (12.9 percent) Higher Than a Year Earlier.
  • Community Bank Revenue and Loan Growth Outpace Industry
  • Total Loan Balances Rise 6.8 Percent During the Past Year

 

The increase in earnings was mainly attributable to a $10 billion (9.2 percent) increase in net interest income and a $1.2 billion (1.9 percent) rise in noninterest income. One-time accounting and expense items at three institutions had an impact on the growth in income. Banks increased their loan-loss provisions by $2.9 billion (34 percent) from a year earlier.

 

Contact: Glen Cooney: 443-325-0775, gcooney@mddccua.org