WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of eight U.S. Senators recently sent a letter urging Congress to exclude boat and RV dealers from the provisions of a proposed new consumer financial regulatory entity, according to a release from the National Marine Manufacturers Association.
The letter was addressed to Senate Banking Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Ct.) and House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Ma.), who will lead House and Senate conferees working to reconcile the Senate and House versions of the Wall Street reform bill.
It was led by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and signed by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Sam Brownback (R-Kans.), Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.).
In the letter, 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 reasonable-priced credit remained available to qualified, credit-worthy consumers of cars, boats and RVs.
Conferees will meet over the next few weeks to iron out major differences between the House and Senate versions of the legislation. The NMMA and the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association are working jointly to ensure boat and RV dealers are ultimately excluded from the new legislation.