WASHINGTON (8/17/10)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) encouraged the U.S. Treasury to recognize that credit unions perform, and can continue to perform, a valuable role in the mortgage lending system ahead of a Tuesday panel discussion on many issues that are central to housing finance reform. The panel discussion will take place between 9:00 A.M. and 1:30 P.M. (ET) today and will feature input from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan, as well as several academics and finance insiders. CUNA in a letter sent to the Treasury ahead of the panel discussion said that any administration housing finance reforms should ensure that credit unions and other financial services firms are able to take full advantage of the opportunities to sell their loans into the secondary market and to receive services from the Federal Home Loan Banks or other entities that may be created. Any potential legislative and regulatory burdens faced by credit unions should be minimized by the new housing finance plan, CUNA said, adding that the central aim of any reformed housing finance system should be ensuring that consumers receive mortgage loans that they can afford, not merely increasing home ownership. The hearing, which will be broadcast live on the Treasury's homepage (www.treasury.gov), will feature discussions on housing finance reform and its impact on the financial markets and housing policy. Assorted breakout sessions on the role of the private sector, access and affordability, securitization, and other topics will also take place. Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Paul Kanjorski (D-Penn.) in late July announced that a number of similar housing finance hearings would take place in September.