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Monetary policy housing and Reg Q on Congress hearing agenda
WASHINGTON (2/28/12)--With few votes scheduled as U.S. House and Senate members return to Washington this week, credit unions will want to keep an eye on hearings related to housing policy, monetary policy, and the impact of the recent repeal of Regulation Q.

The Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday will hold a hearing entitled "The State of the Housing Market:  Removing Barriers to Economic Recovery." U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan, Federal Reserve (Fed) Governor Elizabeth Duke, and Federal Housing Finance Agency Acting Director Edward DeMarco are expected to testify.

The House Financial Services insurance, housing and community opportunity subcommittee will also hold a housing hearing on Tuesday, as it meets to discuss HUD oversight issues. Acting Federal Housing Administration Commissioner Carol Galante and four HUD assistant secretaries are scheduled to testify.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will deliver the semiannual monetary policy report to the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday and the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday.

The House financial institutions subcommittee has scheduled a hearing on "Understanding the Effects of the Repeal of Regulation Q on Financial Institutions and Small Businesses" for Thursday.

The Fed last year released a final rule that repealed Regulation Q, and, as a result, community banks and other for-profit financial institutions are now be permitted to pay interest on commercial checking accounts. Many opposed the repeal, saying that it would have 'devastating' effects on smaller and community banks.

The Senate Budget Committee is also expected to hold a hearing on tax reform on Thursday, with a panel of academics scheduled to testify.

The Obama administration's new corporate tax reform plan, which was released last week, calls for a wide-range of corporate tax law changes, but nothing in the proposal specifically targets credit unions.

Debate over the tax proposal is expected to be contentious, and could continue into next year. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) will continue to remain "engaged and vigilant" as the debate moves forward, CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney said.

CUNA is also watching two bills that may receive consideration in the coming weeks.  The first is H.R. 4014, which would protect the privilege of information submitted to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. (See related Feb. 27 story: House could soon vote on CFPB privacy bill).

The Cybersecurity Act of 2012 (H.R. 2105) could also come up for a vote in the coming weeks.


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