WASHINGTON (7/22/10)—President Barack Obama on Wednesday officially signed legislation that introduces a series of sweeping regulatory reforms that substantially restructure financial regulations and provides consumers with new protections. The legislation is mainly aimed at Wall Street and larger financial firms and seeks to help avoid a repeat of the country's recent crisis prompted by a meltdown of housing and mortgage markets. The legislation also addresses thrifts, deposit insurance reforms, hedge funds, credit rating agencies, executive compensation, and investor protections, among other items. The legislation, which was officially approved by the Senate last week, makes permanent an increase in federal deposit insurance to $250,000 per account, and extends on an equal basis for credit unions and banks unlimited federal insurance for non-interest bearing accounts. The legislation also establishes a consumer financial protection bureau, and credit unions with assets under $10 billion will not be examined by the new bureau once it is established. A similar $10 billion credit union exclusion applies to rules that allow the Federal Reserve to set interchange fees for debit cards. The interchange legislation was strongly opposed by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and credit unions. A July 16 News Now story erroneously noted the provision applied to credit cards. The error has been corrected. (See CUNA: Final reg reform has some CU improvements, July 16) Several other reforms are also of interest to credit unions. One such reform is the inclusion of the National Credit Union Administration chairman on a proposed financial stability oversight council. CUNA continues to analyze the impact that the regulatory reform provisions will have on credit unions.