WASHINGTON (3/13/08)—The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) made its case against burdensome credit union regulations before the Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) second national forum on regulatory fairness. The SBA hearing is intended to promote discussion on excessive regulation or enforcement by any federal agency that affects the country’s small businesses. Mary Dunn, CUNA senior vice president and deputy general counsel, in her testimony, underscored the "staggering regulatory burden" on credit unions. “Credit unions are one of the most heavily regulated entities and are currently subject to a wide range of regulatory requirements, including an array of consumer protection rules on issues such as truth-in-lending, privacy, the fair and accurate credit transactions act, and a number of others, as well as safety and soundness rules. "Because credit unions are member owned and want to avoid predatory practices, CUNA supports reasonable protections for consumers. However, new laws translate into regulatory requirements and as a result, the burdens imposed on credit unions today are staggering and costly,” Dunn said. She noted that excessive regulation not only proposes a compliance burden, but also diverts credit unions from their mission of providing financial services to their members. Dunn also pointed out that credit unions are subject to more restrictive capital requirements than those that apply to other types of financial institutions, field-of-membership and member-business-lending restrictions, as well as a usury ceiling, limitations on loan maturities, and stringent limitations on their investment options. The CUNA testimony reiterated the need for prompt corrective action reform to provide a more risk-based system for credit unions and the importance of allowing credit unions to offer more small business loans to their members. Both regulatory improvements are addressed within the language of the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act (H.R. 1537), and are expected to be included in a Senate version of the bill whose introduction is said to be imminent. Dunn also addressed CUNA’s recommended improvements in the SBA's processing of applications and backed H.R. 1849, a bill pending in the House that would facilitate SBA lending by credit union.