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CUNA CEO meets with key Treasury official
WASHINGTON (5/26/11)--Debit card interchange fee regulation, preserving the tax-exempt status of credit unions, the National Credit Union Administration’s Corporation Credit Union Stabilization Fund, increased member business lending authority, and supplementary capital authority for credit unions were among the central issues Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney discussed with Treasury Undersecretary for Domestic Finance Jeffrey Goldstein during meeting at that agency yesterday. Concerning the tax exemption for credit unions, Cheney focused on the benefits consumers receive in the way of favorable rates and fees that are directly attributable to the tax-exempt status of credit unions. CUNA urges the administration and the U.S. Congress, as they grapple with solutions to the nation’s budget deficit, to be mindful of the importance of credit unions in the financial marketplace. On debit card fee regulation, Cheney emphasized that CUNA is doing all it can, working with credit unions and leagues, to urge Congress to delay implementation of the Federal Reserve Board’s final interchange rule, due to go into effect July 21. That rule, as proposed, would set a seven- to 12-cent cap on debit card interchange fees for issuers with more than $10 billion in assets. While smaller issuers are exempt from the cap, CUNA has concerns that the statutory exemption will not be sufficiently effective, resulting in substantial declines in fees to smaller issuers. Cheney also indicated that CUNA is working on the regulatory side of the interchange issue, pushing the Fed to improve its rule for credit union debit card issuers. CUNA is scheduled to meet with key Federal Reserve Board officials again next week. The proper role of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was also on the agenda. CUNA wants to ensure that the agency protects consumers as Congress intended, but without imposing unnecessary regulatory burdens on credit unions in the process. To further fight regulatory burden, CUNA is also working with credit unions and leagues to provide comment on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposed new form that would combine and significantly reduce the number of mortgage disclosure forms provided by lenders to borrowers under the Truth-in-Lending Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. (See related story: CUNA/CFPB meet on mortgage disclosure, comment deadline Friday.) Cheney also said at the Wednesday meeting that CUNA wants to work closely with the Treasury on greater authority for credit unions to provide member business loans (MBL) and to obtain supplementary capital authority. He thanked the department for its support of the legislation championed by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) to raise the MBL cap. Under Secretary Goldstein advises Treasury Secretary Geithner and leads the department’s efforts on domestic finance and fiscal policy, among other issues. Also at the meeting were Don Graves, Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary, and Felton Booker, acting director of the agency’s Office of Financial Institutions Policy. Attending the meeting with Cheney were CUNA senior staff John Magill, Ryan Donovan, and Mary Dunn.


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