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News Now

Washington
MBLs NCUA oversight part of Senate Banking agenda
WASHINGTON (2/9/11)—Member business lending (MBL), interchange fees, and oversight of some National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) actions will be a few of the many issues discussed as the Senate Banking Committee progresses through its work in the 112th Congress. Committee Chairman Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) laid out these and other priorities in a recent memo to his committee colleagues. The MBL cap, which currently stands at 12.25% of total assets, could be raised as high as 27.5% if legislation that was offered by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) is reintroduced this year. Lifting the MBL cap would inject over $10 billion into the economy, creating over 108,000 new jobs at no cost to taxpayers, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has estimated. CUNA has called for a comprehensive examination of interchange regulations, which are slated to come into effect later this year. The Federal Reserve's interchange proposal would place an arbitrary cap, perhaps as low as 7 cents, on interchange fees, and CUNA has warned that this arbitrary cap could result in credit unions having to eliminate their debit card programs altogether. Credit unions may also be forced to introduce new fees in an effort to keep their vital debit card programs alive. According to the memo, the committee will also focus on the NCUA’s ongoing efforts to deal with the effects of the corporate credit union crisis. Prompt corrective action and net worth standards for credit unions will also be discussed, as will insuring interest on lawyers’ trust accounts at credit unions. Johnson in the Senate Banking memo said that some of these pressing credit union issues could be addressed through oversight hearings, while others could require legislative intervention. More general financial priorities for the committee include oversight of Dodd-Frank Act implementation and possible housing finance reform. The committee had not released a schedule of upcoming hearings at press time.


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