Last week, the Government Accountability Office released a report indicating that the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform has imposed increasing compliance burdens on community banks, credit unions, and industry associations. These typically smaller institutions have had to increase staff and dedicate more time and money to training in order to comply with the new rules.

Some industry representatives indicated that new CFPB qualified mortgage standards could affect mortgage lending activities of credit unions and community banks, forcing them to reduce lending to customers who otherwise might not be served by larger lenders. The GAO’s data does not currently show this reduction—it shows only moderate to minimal decreases in available credit. But, according to the GAO, the results do not rule out “significant effects or the possibility that effects may arise in the future.”

The National Association of Federal Credit Unions, responding to the GAO report, said that the report “fails to capture the full impact of these crushing regulatory burdens.” NAFCU points out that more than 1,280 financial institutions have closed since 2010, most of which had assets below $100 million. Since many of the Dodd-Frank regulations are not yet implemented, NAFCU expects the growing burden to “exacerbate the negative impact on the credit union industry.”

The GAO report concedes that Dodd-Frank will continue to negatively impact financial institutions, causing higher expenses and lost revenue. But, at least so far, the size of that impact is not quantifiable.