WASHINGTON (3/4/08)—Reps. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) and Ed Royce (R-Calif.) introduced a new credit union bill Monday, one which would offer regulatory relief in 12 areas but does not go as far as the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act (CURIA, H.R. 1537). The bill was introduced just four days before a scheduled House Financial Services Committee hearing CURIA. Kanjorski heads that panel’s subcommittee on capital markets. Although it touches on many areas of CURIA, the new bill (H.R. 5519) does not contain language to increase the credit union member business lending ceiling or to transform prompt corrective action into a more risk-based system. H.R. 5519 is entitled the Credit Union Regulatory Relief Act (CURRA) of 2008. Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Dan Mica said Monday, “We commend and thank Reps. Kanjorski and Royce for taking this bold step aimed at reducing the regulatory burden on credit unions. This timely legislation will get us a long way toward credit union goals--but not all the way: More needs to be done.” “Easing restrictions on business lending and providing more flexibility for credit unions in net worth requirements remain key goals for us. We will continue to urge Congress to consider CURIA, and will continue to seek co-sponsors for this important legislation," Mica said from CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) here. As of Monday evening, CURIA carried 145 official supporters in the House. The new CURRA bill would:
* Permit the purchase of investment grade securities by federal credit unions ; * Increase the investment limit in credit union service organizations; * Exclude from the member business lending cap any loans to nonprofit religious organizations; * Allow the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) to establish longer maturities for certain credit union loans; * Give the NCUA greater flexibility in responding to market conditions; * Permit, under certain circumstances, a federal credit union converting to a community charter to continue to serve groups outside the community; * Enable credit union participation in the Small Business Administration’s 504 programs; * Permit federal credit union to add service to underserved areas regardless of original field of membership; * Permit federal credit unions to provide for short-term payday loan alternatives for nonmembers within a the credit union ' s field of membership; * Permit a federal credit union to expel a member for cause, and to institute term limits for board members if it so chooses; * Encourage small business development in underserved urban and rural communities by providing for the exclusion of member business loans made in underserved areas from the business lending cap ; and * Provide an exemption from pre-merger notification of the Clayton Act.