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Hearings highlight busy Washington week
WASHINGTON (7/24/12)--Credit unions will want to watch Washington this week as a series of financial hearings highlight U.S. House and Senate schedules.

One noteworthy hearing is scheduled to take place today. Doug Fecher, president/CEO of Wright-Patt CU, Fairborn, Ohio, is scheduled to testify on behalf of the Credit Union National Association and his credit union. The 10 a.m. hearing will focus on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) impact on credit markets. (See related News Now story: Wright-Patt CU CEO testifies today on CUNA's behalf)

The House Financial Services financial institutions and consumer credit subcommittee has also scheduled a Tuesday hearing entitled "Examining Consumer Credit Access Concerns, New Products and Federal Regulations." The private student lending market, and how lenders can provide greater flexibility to borrowers, will be examined at a Tuesday Senate Banking Committee hearing.

The House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday will discuss the Financial Stability Oversight Council's annual report with U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner on Wednesday. A similar hearing is scheduled to be held in the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday.

Tax-exempt organizations will be examined during a Thursday House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee hearing. This is the second in a series of hearings, and U.S. Internal Revenue Service operations, charitable organizations and unrelated business income tax (UBIT) are all scheduled to be discussed.

Neither the tax status of federal credit unions nor the UBIT status of credit unions is expected to come up during the discussion. Not-for-profit credit unions have long believed that income from financial products of all kinds, including sales of insurance products like credit life insurnace and investment products, such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds and annuities, made available by state-chartered credit unions to their members should not be subject to UBIT. The IRS has attempted to assess UBIT on some credit union products, and affected credit unions have successfully defended their right for that income to remain untaxed in in the federal courts.

The Senate is expected to discuss tax cut and tax extension options later in the week, and could also consider cyber-security legislation. However, a firm Senate agenda had not been released at press time.

Bills addressing Obama administration energy policy and the "Regulatory Freeze for Jobs Act of 2012" (H.R. 4078) are expected to be discussed in the House.

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