WASHINGTON (11/16/09)—Only opening statements will be allowed on Thursday when the Senate Banking Committee is expected to start its mark up of financial regulatory reform legislation. According to CongressDaily Friday, that opening salvo will be followed by a Dec. 2 session during which amendments may be formally offered. As reported last week in News Now, on Tuesday Dodd introduced a draft bill that would, among other things, establish a consumer financial protection agency (CFPA) similar to that proposed by both the Obama administration and members of the House of Representatives. The consumer protection duties of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) would be folded into this agency under Dodd's bill. However, Dodd's bill would preserve the NCUA as an independent safety and soundness regulator for credit unions. While credit unions "have long advocated strong consumer protection," the additional regulatory burden imposed by Dodd's legislation would only take away from their ability to provide "continued and effective service" to their members, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Dan Mica said at the bill’s unveiling.