Opinion Pieces

The CHOICE Act: Opportunities, Growth, and Accountability

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Washington, May 2, 2017 | AnnMarie Graham | comments
Today, the Financial Services Committee started the mark-up process for the Financial CHOICE Act, an important step in the effort to bring choices and opportunity to the American people. The regulations that resulted from the Dodd-Frank Act in the wake of the financial crisis have caused more harm than good for consumers, sometimes even preventing some from getting loans for cars or homes, while failing to guard against future crisis.
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Today, the Financial Services Committee started the mark-up process for the Financial CHOICE Act, an important step in the effort to bring choices and opportunity to the American people.  The regulations that resulted from the Dodd-Frank Act in the wake of the financial crisis have caused more harm than good for consumers, sometimes even preventing some from getting loans for cars or homes, while failing to guard against future crisis. 

We believe that there is a better way forward, one that can provide Americans with more opportunities, give small businesses the access to the capital they need to succeed, and bring more accountability to our financial system.  That is why I am proud to support the CHOICE Act. 

Included in the CHOICE Act is a provision based on a bill that I introduced in the 114th Congress, the SAFE Transitional Licensing Act.  This provision makes a minor change to the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing (SAFE) Act to require states to issue transitional licenses to individuals who were employed by a financial institution and are a registered loan originator.  This allows loan originators to have a smooth employment transition between bank and non-bank entities. For independent mortgage lenders, the CHOICE Act will give them the opportunity for job mobility, rather than have their hands tied by Washington’s red tape.

An additional provision included in the CHOICE Act is designed to help small businesses by enhancing the ability of Business Development Companies (BDCs) to finance small and middle market businesses.  The middle market sector has an outsized impact on economic growth and job creation in the United States.  But partly because of Dodd-Frank, traditional banks are exiting the middle market, leaving these important job creators without the financing they need to operate and expand their businesses.  My bill would help fill this financing gap by providing a modest increase in the amount BDCs can borrow, enabling them to provide significantly more capital to small and middle market companies.   

Finally, the CHOICE Act also brings additional accountability and oversight of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).  Based on another piece of my legislation from the 114th Congress, the CHOICE Act includes a provision that will require an independent Inspector General for the CFPB.  Government accountability is more important than ever, and it is important that we take the necessary steps to ensure the CFPB is accountable to the American people. 

Our economy has suffered under the stifling regulations of Dodd-Frank, and consumers have paid the price.  I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Financial Services Committee, and the rest of Congress to pass the CHOICE Act and deliver the opportunity, access, and accountability the American people deserve.

Steve Stivers is a Member of Congress from Ohio’s 15th Congressional District.

 

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