Marine dealer exemption could be on the table today

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The Conference Committee dealing with the financial reform bill will reportedly begin taking up various provisions and changes to the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP) as you read this blog today (June 22). Our quest to get marine dealers excluded will be on the table.

“The National Automobile Dealers Association has done outstanding work on this issue,” reports Mathew Dunn, NMMA’s legislative director. “In essence, the House has included in its ‘offer’ (the basis for negotiations with the Senate conferees) our sought-after expanded dealer exclusion language written by Sen. Sam Brownback. The language includes auto, marine and RV dealers."

You will recall the new BCFP will have extremely broad authority to regulate almost all “financial products.” Because that will include dealer-assisted financing, marine dealers will be subject to onerous new reporting, accounting and other regulatory requirements as if they were banks. This, in spite of the fact that boat dealers don’t originate loans and the banks that do will be fully regulated anyway. Accordingly, it makes sense to exclude product dealers because no added consumer protections will be realized and dealers will be faced with unnecessary costs, reports and requirements.

The action needed now is to contact the Senate conferees and urge them to accept the expanded dealer exclusion language that the House is offering. Generally, Republican Senators are in support of the dealer exclusion. But as you’ll see from the list of Senate conferees below, Democrat senators either voted against or didn’t vote two weeks ago on Brownback’s “motion to instruct”:

DEMOCRATS: Dodd (Conn.) – voted NO on Brownback motion (ph 202/224-2823); Johnson (S.D.) – voted NO (ph 202/224-5842); Reed (R.I.) – voted NO (ph 202/224-4642); Leahy (Vt.) – voted NO (ph 202/224-4242); Schumer (N.Y.) – DID NOT VOTE (ph 202/224-6542); Lincoln (Ark.) – DID NOT VOTE (ph 202/224-4843); Harkin (Iowa) -- DID NOT VOTE (ph 202/224-3254).

REPUBLICANS: Shelby (Ala.) – voted YES on the Brownback motion (ph 202/224-5744); Corker (Tenn.) – voted YES (ph 202/224-3344); Crapo (Idaho) –voted YES (ph 202/224-6142); Gregg (N.H.) –voted YES (202/224-3324); Chambliss (Ga.) –DID NOT VOTE (ph 202/224-3521).

Bottom line: It’s crunch time on this issue. If any of these are your Senators, call them today and ask them to accept the expanded dealer exclusion language offered by the House. Even if your Senator is one of the Republicans, calling them will reinforce the fact that this issue is important to you as a boat dealer.

Even if your Senator is not a conferee, calling your Senator and asking him or her to urge their colleagues who are conferees to accept the House offer could push things over the top for dealers.