WASHINGTON (5/1/09)—The Senate is expected to complete debate today on S. 896, the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, and vote on the legislation that is primarily intended to help more homeowners stave off foreclosure. During yesterday’s consideration of the bill, the Senate spent hours deliberating over a judicial mortgage modification amendment offered by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.). The language, similar to that contained in a comparable House-approved bill that would allow bankruptcy judges to change terms of existing mortgage, was rejected 51-45 by the Senate. (See related story: Senate rejects ‘cramdown’ amendment.) Still being debated today are provisions, offered as an amendment by Sens. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), that would execute important changes for credit unions. The amendment, expected to succeed in some form, would:
* Create a Temporary Corporate Credit Union Stabilization Fund; * Allow credit unions to spread out the cost of a premium assessment that has resulted from losses at wholesale corporate credit unions. It would reduce from 1% of a credit union's insured shares to 0.15% of insured shares this year's cost of the National Credit Union Administration's corporate stabilization plan. * Increase National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) borrowing authority; and * Extend the higher share and deposit insurance coverage levels, first set as a temporary measure in October 2008 as part of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act.
The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) strongly supports each of these provisions. CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica has contacted Senate lawmakers noting that CUNA appreciates the Senate’s timely consideration of the credit union provisions. Regarding the mortgage bankruptcy language, the issue could come up again, perhaps during a House-Senate conference convened to work out the differences between the two bodies’ legislation.