MADISON, Wis. (1/4/11)--Maybe credit unions were in shock the first half of 2010. Or perhaps they had more specific information available during the second half of the year about what lies ahead. When News Now reviewed its third- and fourth-quarter coverage of 2010, it found many more stories focused on--no surprise here--interchange proposals, financial reg reform and corporate system stabilization plans. Every month during the third and fourth quarters had interchange stories in their top four stories. The first half of 2010 was reviewed in Monday's issue (See link for "First half of 2010 saw challenges, opportunities for CUs.") Today, News Now examines the top stories of the second half of the year. Later in the week, News Now will feature its annual Top 20 Stories of the Year, based on total readership. Financial regulatory reform was a hot topic for the third quarter. But July stories were all over the range, similar to second quarter. Other popular stories for July included alerts about home equity fraud schemes, news of CEOs barred from future credit union work, and reports of a credit union CEO killed by police in a park. These aren't operational stories that normally attract many credit unions, but the latter three fall under stories that are "unusual" for credit unions. The impact on credit union operations from external forces was the common thread in August's top stories. The top story was economic, with the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) relating what conclusions credit unions could make from the decisions by the Federal Open Market Committee, the Federal Reserve' policy makers, on quantitative easing and interest rates--big issues in a year where credit unions are looking at a slow recovery and dents in the bottom line from operations challenges. Proposed changes to the Financial Accounting Standards Board's Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) rules were of high interest to credit unions, with some saying the rules would mean tens of thousands of dollars in extra annual costs to credit unions. The Fed's review of check-hold rules in the new financial reform law and some of the smaller changes credit unions might see in their operations also was a top story. And finally, there was the Durbin Amendment, with CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney urging further consideration of how credit unions and banks offer credit cards differently. By the end of third quarter, credit unions saw more action in the corporate system. Credit unions combatted the "bailout" perception in the media after the conservatorship of several corporate credit unions; reacted to the National Credit Union Administration's (NCUA) corporate stabilization actions; heard about the registration process that banks, credit unions and employees would have to follow under the Safe and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing (SAFE) Act; and saw NCUA make a rare denial of a community charter application in Missouri. The fourth quarter saw credit unions mulling over more compliance issues. In October, the sole noncompliance article--and top story for the month--centered International Credit Union Day, which was Oct. 21, and credit unions' philosophy. Otherwise, top stories included NCUA's announcement it would redesign its examination process to better interact with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act, and a ruling in a lawsuit that deemed the interchange rules as unconstitutional. The election for the 112th Congress was the top story for November with CUNA analyzing how credit unions' candidates fared in the election results. Corporates dominated the top 10 list for the month, as Fitch ratings company withdrew its ratings of three corporates under conservatorship as they formed bridge corporates, and NCUA projected what the corporate stabilization assessment would cost credit unions. A fourth story hit on growth and strategies to adapt services to retain young adults, with the Filene Research Institute noting that attracting more Generation Y members would be a matter of survival for credit unions. Credit unions ended the year with 13 U.S. senators urging greater consideration by the Fed on the interchange rules in a letter encouraged by CUNA; more scams involving HELOCs, the passage in the House of NCUA's technical amendments; and NCUA's opinion on gift cards as incentives to attend credit unions meetings.