Biden calls out ‘junk fees’ in State of the Union address

President Joe Biden delivered his third State of the Union address Thursday to a joint session of Congress, the Supreme Court Justices, and military leaders from the House of Representatives chamber. 

In his address, Biden specifically called out “junk fees” and the CFPB’s newest rule to cut credit card late fees to $8 – ignoring the complexities of financial programs and how the value-based fees help with fraud protection, short term lending, and access to affordable credit for the consumers who rely on them. While the speech only referenced banks and credit card companies, the rule would apply to credit unions with over a million accounts and have a market impact on all credit unions.

“Credit unions work every day to protect and enhance the lives of their members,” said America’s Credit Unions President/CEO Jim Nussle. “America’s Credit Unions has repeatedly pushed back against lumping legitimate, value-based fees with frivolous ones and will continue to support the ability for credit unions to decide what products and services best fit their members’ needs. With more than 43 million financially vulnerable Americans, America’s Credit Unions believes the real-life impact credit unions have on the 140 million consumers they serve is a better measure of success than government intervention by the CFPB. Every American deserves the ability to belong to a credit union.”  

After Biden touted the administration’s work against “junk fees” in last year’s State of the Union address, credit union leaders sought to set the record straight on the legitimate fees and value-driven programs used by members. America’s Credit Unions’ advocacy team has consistently raised concerns to CFPB Director Chopra, arguing these efforts will hurt the consumers the bureau was created to protect. 

Over 6,000 credit union advocates descended to Capitol Hill to tout the credit union difference and priorities for our industry this week. Additionally, Commonwealth Credit Union President/CEO and America’s Credit Unions Transition Board Secretary Karen Harbin testified on reforming the CFPB before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Monetary Policy Thursday.  

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