Bank Watch

Pittenger renews push on advisory board for small businesses

Congressman Robert Pittenger is reintroducing a bill to create an advisory board that would allow small businesses to tell a federal regulator how new rules would affect them.
Congressman Robert Pittenger is reintroducing a bill to create an advisory board that would allow small businesses to tell a federal regulator how new rules would affect them. jwillhelm@charlotteobserver.com

Congressman Robert Pittenger is renewing his effort to create an advisory board that would allow small businesses to tell a federal regulator how new rules would affect them, after legislation to form the board never made it out of the previous Congress.

It’s the latest example of the Charlotte Republican seeking to rein in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency established by the Dodd-Frank Act in response to the financial crisis. In the past, Pittenger has called for more oversight of the bureau, whose broad powers include writing rules to protect consumers from banking industry practices that might harm them.

The advisory board would be a permanent body that would give input to the bureau as rules are being made, according to Pittenger’s office. The text of the bill is not yet available on Congress’ website. But legislation Pittenger introduced last year, during his first term, called for the board to be made of at least 12 members who would meet at least twice a year to advise the bureau.

In a statement Thursday, Pittenger said the board would “give small business owners, credit unions and community banks a seat at the table.”

“Small businesses create jobs. Community banks and credit unions support small businesses. Too often, Washington regulators don’t pay attention to how their rules create unnecessary burdens for small business owners, killing job growth,” he said.

As he did last year, Pittenger is introducing the bill with the support of Rep. Denny Heck, a Democrat from Washington state.

In June, Pittenger’s original bill won the unanimous approval of the House Financial Services Committee but didn’t progress further. Pittenger’s office says Congress was busy focusing at the time on other important legislation, such as that dealing with funding the Department of Homeland Security, which squeezed out Pittenger’s bill.

The bill was reintroduced Monday. Govtrack gives it a 1 percent chance of being enacted.

Pittenger’s office announced the reintroduction of the legislation on the same day the Federal Reserve released the results of its bank stress tests, another mandate imposed on banks by Dodd-Frank.

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