WASHINGTON (2/5/09)—Outlining his ideas for re-structuring the federal financial regulatory system, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) did not mention consolidation of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) as one of his goals. "We, quite frankly, would have been very surprised to have heard the Chairman mention NCUA in the context of regulatory restructuring," said Ryan Donovan, vice president of legislative affairs for the Credit Union National Association. Donovan noted that the omission is consistent with the message he has been sending credit unions since March 2008. Frank made his comments during a news conference to outline his committee’s agenda for 2009. Also important for credit unions, Donovan noted Frank reiterated his support for credit unions to have access to Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds. He indicated a hope that the U.S. Treasury Secretary would make funds available to credit unions. On broad issues, Frank said the biggest near-term issue is to deal with systemic risk. (American Banker Feb. 4) He said his top priority will be to identify and empower a single federal entity to be the systemic risk regulator. He said his second phase of a regulatory restructuring process will involve consideration of merging various federal financial regulators and providing addition consumer protection regulation. Donovan said the agencies mentioned as possible merger candidates were the Securities and Exchange Commission with the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency with the Office of Thrift Supervision. Consumer protection issues identified by the chairman included possible legislation to curb predatory mortgage lending and abusive credit cards practices. “These bills are expected to be similar to legislation the committee considered in the 110th Congress,” Donovan said. “Also Chairman Frank said his committee would continue to focus on affordable housing, including promoting affordable rental housing,” he added.