A bipartisan group of eight U.S. senators last week sent a letter to Senate Banking Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), and House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), urging Congress to exclude RV and boat dealers from the provisions of a proposed new consumer financial regulatory entity that would be created in new legislation aimed at Wall Street and the banking industry.
According to a Recreation Vehicle Dealers Assocation (RVDA) press release, the letter, written by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), also was signed by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and Richard Burr (R-N.C.).
In the letter to Sen. Dodd and Rep. Frank, who will lead House and Senate conferees working to reconcile the Senate and House versions of the Wall Street reform bill, the senators said that “the same rationale for excluding auto dealers from the new consumer agency applies to boat and RV dealers. Boat and RV dealers do not originate loans, they assist qualified consumers in securing financing. The banks originating the motor vehicle loans will be regulated by the new agency. Moreover, boat and RV dealers tend to be small businesses. New paperwork and reporting requirements will hinder their ability to grow and create jobs.”
Both the House and Senate versions of Wall Street reform create a new consumer financial protection watchdog. The House legislation exempts automobile dealers from the new agency. In May, the Senate overwhelmingly approved a motion authored by Sen. Brownback to instruct its conferees to insist that the final conference report include the House provision, along with additional definitions covering boat and RV dealers.
Sen. Brownback had sponsored an amendment applying a regulatory exclusion to auto, marine and RV dealers in an effort to ensure that reasonably priced credit remained available to qualified, credit-worthy consumers of cars, boats, and RVs.
Conferees will meet during the next few weeks to iron out major differences between the House and Senate versions of the legislation. RVDA and the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) are working jointly to ensure that marine and RV dealers are fully considered and ultimately treated equitably under any new consumer agency.