House Financial Services Committee
If you own a house, take out a student loan, or simply have a checking account, the work of the House Financial Services Committee impacts you.
The House Financial Services Committee focuses on all components of the nation’s housing and financial services sectors. The committee has jurisdiction over federal housing policy, Wall Street reform, consumer protection, commercial insurance and banking issues. The historic Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was developed in this committee in 2010.
With major employers, credit unions, financial institutions, and a burgeoning tech start-up industry, Washington state has a tremendous stake in the work done under jurisdiction of the Committee.
Rep. Denny Heck is the only member of the House of Representatives from the Pacific Northwest to serve on the House Financial Services Committee. Since joining the committee in January of 2013, Rep. Heck has passed a law, participated in numerous hearings on proposed and existing legislation, and proposed reforms to laws involving small businesses, sought to clarify loan interest rates for servicemembers, pursued renewal of the Export-Import Bank, and introduced legislation to provide access to banking services for legal marijuana establishments.
FINANCIAL OPPORTUNITY FOR OUR SERVICEMEMBERS
Rep. Denny Heck believes all those who have served as members of our military deserve the chance to go to college and own a home while they serve, without having to worry about runaway interest rates on their loans and mortgages.
On February 11, 2014, Rep. Heck introduced the Servicemembers Opportunity Act, to make sure that all servicemembers are able to use the financial protections provided by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act of 2003. This law capped interest rates at 6 percent for loan and mortgages for servicemembers.
On August 25, 2014, President Obama announced new private sector commitments to enforce protections outlined in the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act of 2003 to close the loophole identified in Rep. Heck’s Servicemembers Opportunity Act.
To prevent a pending expiration of foreclosure protection for military homeowners, Rep. Heck joined Rep. Stephen Fincher (TN-8) to offer the Stability for Servicemembers Act on December 4, 2014 to extend the one-year foreclosure prevention measure through December 31, 2015, and offered the the Foreclosure Relief and Extension for Servicemembers Act of 2015, to extend foreclosure protection for military homeowners from 90 days to a one year period until January 1, 2018. Both bills were signed by President Obama before any servicemembers were affected by the shorter timeline.
On July 24, 2017, Rep. Heck joined leading Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee to present a plan to strengthen enforcement of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). the Military Consumer Protection Act directs the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Consumer Bureau) to oversee and enforce compliance with certain existing provisions of the SCRA, which was found by Government Accountability Office to be weakly enforced by prudential regulators. The introduction of H.R. 3357 follows the release of a Financial Services Committee Democratic Staff Report, which highlights the numerous successes of Consumer Bureau and discusses the importance of its rule banning forced arbitration.
A VOICE FOR SMALL BUSINESS
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has advisory boards for consumers, community banks, and credit unions to gain valuable feedback on rules and regulations they propose that affect their interests. There is currently no advisory board at the CFPB for small businesses operating in financial services.
The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Small Business Advisory Board Act is a bipartisan effort led by Rep. Denny Heck and Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) to create a formal advisory role for accountants, appraisers, lenders, title insurers, tax advisors, and other financial service providers that operate in a small business setting. The CFPB Small Business Advisory Board would consult the CFPB during the development of policies and procedures that affect their industry, give an opinion on their role in complex financial transactions, as well as provide information on consumer protection trends they observe while doing business in the community. Heck and Pittenger reintroduced the legislation in 2015, and it was approved by the House Financial Services Committee on March 26, 2015.
REAUTHORIZING EXPORT-IMPORT BANK
The Export-Import Bank of the United States allows American companies access to new global markets for their products and services. Companies producing advanced manufacturing materials have found many customers in foreign countries eager to purchase their goods, but lack the insurance and loan services available to make large purchases possible.
The Ex-Im Bank was reauthorized for 2 years in 2012 with widespread, bipartisan support. To continue this important tool for U.S. exports, Rep. Denny Heck introduced the Protect American Jobs and Exports Act of 2014, to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank for 7 more years and allow it to lend more money to American companies. His legislation received 200 original cosponsors in less than 6 hours. The Ex-Im Bank was reauthorized until June 30, 2015.
At the start of the 114th Congress, Rep. Heck joined Ranking Member Maxine Waters, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade Gwen Moore (D-WI) and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) to introduce the Promoting U.S. Jobs through Exports Act of 2015, which renews Ex-Im’s charter for seven years, increases its lending authority to meet the needs of U.S. exporters, and modernizes the Bank’s programs to better serve small and medium-sized businesses. Less than one day after the legislation was introduced, more than 160 Democratic members of the House of Representatives signed on to cosponsor the legislation, eventually reaching a total of 190 cosponsors.
On October 28, 2015, the House of Representatives successfully passed H.R. 597, the Reform Exports and Expand the American Economy Act, to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank of the United States until 2019, in a bipartisan, veto-proof vote of 313-118. The President signed the measure into law on December 4, 2015.
On July 25, 2017, Rep. Heck joined Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and Rep. Gwen Moore to speak out against the nomination of Scott Garrett to be president of the Export-Import Bank. In 2015, while a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Scott Garrett (NJ-05) was among the leaders of an effort to shut down the Export-Import Bank and deny American businesses a level playing field on which to compete for business, create jobs, and sustain thousands of export-driven jobs that our country already has, thanks to ExIm financing.
If you own a company in the South Sound and are interested in exporting your goods with tools provided by the Export-Import Bank , please contact Congressman Denny Heck's office.
ACCESS TO BANKING
All legal businesses should have access to banking services. When businesses don’t have adequate financial resources to manage their money, their large amounts of cash increases the potential for crime, money laundering, and tax evasion.
Colorado and Washington state legalized marijuana for recreational use by adults in 2012, and Oregon, Alaska, and the District of Columbia legalized it in 2014. Yet financial institutions are not protected from prosecution if they accept licensed growers, retailers, and dispensaries as customers.
The Marijuana Business Access to Banking Act, introduced by Rep.Heck and Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) would allow banks, credit unions and other depository institutions the legal clearance to provide banking services to a marijuana-related legitimate business, ensuring these businesses do not have to operate on a cash-only basis.
On February 14, 2014, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Treasury announced new guidelines for financial institutions seeking to do business with the legal marijuana industry.
On July 16, 2014, the House of Representatives passed the Heck Amendment to the Financial Services Appropriations Bill, which stops banking regulators from penalizing financial institutions for providing services to marijuana-related businesses that operate according to state law. The Amendment was supported by 231 Democrats and Republicans.
On August 11, 2015, Senator Jeff Merkley introduced companion Senate legislation allowing legal marijuana businesses access to banking services. Senator Patty Murray of Washington joined as a co-sponsor.
In 2013, Rep. Denny Heck joined Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) to introduce legislation giving the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Federal Housing Administration the ability to enact necessary reforms to the federal reverse mortgage program.
A reverse mortgage is a way for seniors to receive payments through the equity of their homes, allowing them to have a source of income while continuing to live in their homes. H.R. 2167, the Reverse Mortgage Stabilization Act, provides changes to improve the product for seniors and return the reverse mortgage program to profitability for the taxpayer. The Reverse Mortgage Stabilization Act was passed by the House on June 12, 2013, passed the Senate on July 31, 2013, and was signed into law by President Obama on August 9, 2013.
This bill was one of only 296 bills, 2.8 percent of the 10,645 bills introduced, that became law during the 113th Congress.
To see what the House Financial Services Committee is up to, the Committee on Financial Services - Democrats website is a great portal for information on issues, news on legislation, live webcasts of committee hearings, and other resources.