WASHINGTON (2/25/08, UPDATED 9:00 a.m. ET)--The House has scheduled a vote next Tuesday on the Credit Union Regulatory Relief Act (CURRA), H.R. 5519. The measure is expected to be paired with a regulatory relief bill for banks. CURRA was introduced in March by Reps. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) and Ed Royce (R-Calif.) The CURRA bill would offer regulatory relief in 12 areas, though does not go as far as the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act (CURIA), H.R. 1537. CURRA does propose to permit federal credit unions to add service to underserved areas regardless of original field of membership. It does not contain language to increase the credit union member business lending ceiling or transform prompt corrective action into a more risk-based system. It would, however, omit MBLs to underserved areas from counting toward the current cap. “We will continue to work for CURIA longer term, but we will also seize this opportunity to gain some meaningful regulatory relief for credit unions in the near term with House passage of CURRA,” said John Magill, CUNA senior vice president-legislative affairs. The CURRA bill is expected to come up on the House suspension calendar, a procedure designed to expedite passage by allowing for a voice vote with no amendments or a two-thirds favorable recorded vote. The CURRA bill would:
* Permit the purchase of investment grade securities by federal credit unions; * Permit federal credit unions offer payday loan alternatives to nonmembers in their fields of membership; * Increase the investment limit in credit union service organizations; * Exclude from the member business lending cap any loans to nonprofit religious organizations; * Allow the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) to establish longer maturities for certain credit union loans; * Give the NCUA greater flexibility in responding to market conditions; * Permit, under certain circumstances, a federal credit union converting to a community charter to continue to serve groups outside the community; * Enable credit union participation in the Small Business Administration's 504 programs; * Permit federal credit unions to provide for short-term payday loan alternatives for nonmembers within a the credit union’s field of membership; * Permit a federal credit union to expel a member for cause, and to institute term limits for board members if it so chooses; * Encourage small business development in underserved urban and rural communities by providing for the exclusion of member business loans made in underserved areas from the business lending cap; and * Provide an exemption from pre-merger notification of the Clayton Act.