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House financial hearings set for this week
WASHINGTON (5/15/12)--Hearings on the Financial Stability Oversight Council's (FSOC) authority, regulator-led legal settlements, and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act highlight the schedules of the House Financial Services Committee and related subcommittees this week.

The first of these hearings will take place on Wednesday, when the House subcommittee on financial institutions and consumer credit is scheduled to discuss how the FSOC would exercise its discretionary authority to designate nonbank financial firms as systemically significant financial institutions. The financial institutions and consumer credit subcommittee will meet again on Friday, as that group examines the Dodd-Frank Act's treatment of regulatory capital requirements.

Oversight of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s (FDIC) structured transaction program, which allows the FDIC to work with private entities to dispose of assets the regulator has acquired through bank bailouts and takeovers, will be addressed during a Wednesday House subcommittee on oversight and investigations hearing.

The full House Financial Services Committee on Thursday will examine federal financial regulatory agency practices when those agencies settle claims against defendants that neither admit nor deny wrongdoing in connection with the settlement. Also on Thursday, the House insurance, housing and community opportunity subcommittee will hold a hearing on issues affecting the ability of U.S. insurance and reinsurance companies to compete internationally.

Another hearing of interest this week is a Wednesday House oversight committee hearing on the operations of tax-exempt organizations. Subcommittee members are not expected to discuss credit union tax status, but Credit Union National Association (CUNA) staff will be watching the hearing closely.

Separate pieces of legislation related to import-export banks and tax credits for small businesses that hire new employees are among the items that could be considered in the Senate this week, and the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization and Defense spending authorization are on the House schedule.

Another piece of legislation that could impact credit unions was introduced last week by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) That bill would require consumer consent before permitting overdraft fees for paper checks, automated clearinghouse (ACH) charges, and debit card swipe-terminal transactions on consumer accounts; would prohibit the practice of check resequencing to increase the number of overdraft fees; and would attempt to limit the amount and number of overdraft fees that can be charged, among other things.

CUNA Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs Ryan Donovan said CUNA strongly supports the ability of credit unions to offer overdraft protection plans as a means to help their members resolve short-term financial problems. "We will watch this measure closely as it makes its way through the process with the aim of preserving credit unions' ability to offer their programs," he added.

The House is taking its Memorial Day District Work Period next week through May 29.  The Senate will be in session next week and recess May 28 through June 1.


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