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CUNA to testify on Internet Gambling plans
WASHINGTON (3/27/08)—The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is preparing to testify before a House subcommittee that will be looking into proposed regulations to implement the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). The House Financial Services subcommittee on domestic and international monetary policy, trade, and technology announced late Tuesday that it will conduct a hearing on UIGEA. Harriet May, president/CEO of GECU, El Paso, Tex.., has been invited to testify on CUNA’s behalf. She is secretary of the CUNA board of directors. The April 2 hearing is expected to highlight the burden the proposed regulations would place on financial institutions, as well as the problems regulators are facing in drafting implementation rules, a process that has been have been bogged down with complications and controversy. In October 2006, President George W. Bush signed the SAFE Port Act into law, a measure which included the language requiring credit card and other payment system companies to establish procedures to block customer transactions with online gambling sites. The Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve Board were jointly given responsibility to implement the law and were statutorily assigned 270 days to come up with a plan. However, no effective date was mandated. Under their joint plan, the agencies proposed to apply the rules to five payments systems: automated clearinghouse (ACH); money transmissions, check clearing, wire transfers and credit cards. Even with this scope of application, the agencies determined in their cost/benefit analysis that 7,609 of the nation's 8,477 credit unions would be affected by the new requirements. CUNA, in a comprehensive comment letter on the joint Treasury-Fed implementation plan, called the proposed rules “unworkable.” CUNA called for a moratorium on the implementation of the current proposal and recommended that the regulators work with Congress “to develop an approach that will meet public policy goals in a clearly understood manner and without inflicting undue hardships on the financial institution sector in the process.” CUNA testimony is expected to parallel the comment letter.

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