Consumer Groups Help Banks Score Victory on Remittance Rule

May 6, 2013
American Banker  

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's final rule on international money transfers turned out to be less burdensome to banks than what was initially planned. Experts say the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) and the National Council of La Raza raised fears that overly tough requirements would push small banks and credit unions out of the $534 billion remittance business. "This was a huge issue that was clearly going to keep institutions on the sidelines and the actual consumer benefit was very small because so few people fell into the category," explained Eric Stein of CRL, which is an affiliate of Self-Help Federal Credit Union. "Banks and credit unions need to think about risk mitigation and where we can lose money. So we had to strike a balance over how much people are going to be protected." The final rule provides increased protections required under the Dodd-Frank Act and specifies that consumers sending money transfers must receive a disclosure and a receipt that shows how much money will be received in the foreign country and when it will be available. The rules also provide recourse for consumers if errors occur. Janis Bowdler of the National Council of La Raza says she worked with CRL and the CFPB on a compromise that maintained most consumer protections while ensuring responsible firms did not leave the market.
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