WASHINGTON (5/10/10)—The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Friday said that it believes the U.S. Senate's proposed financial regulatory reform bill, for the most part, presents a balanced approach to needed changes in the financial system. CUNA noted that much of the legislation's focus shows a recognition that the credit union system has performed well throughout the crisis and remains strong. As part of its ongoing efforts to affect the legislative discussion that is now forming the new structure of financial regulation into the future, CUNA sent a series of letters late last week to comment on the progress of a reform bill being debated in the U.S. Senate, S. 3217, the Restoring American Financial Stability Act (RAFSA). The U.S. House approved a similar bill last December, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 4173). CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica wrote to all senators: “We do not dispute the need for financial regulatory reform legislation, and we recognize that much of this bill’s focus is on correcting regulatory shortcomings that have little or nothing to do with credit unions.“ He added that while CUNA does still have “a small number of outstanding concerns” with respect to the legislation, CUNA appreciates that many of the issues it has raised have been addressed. Currently, an issue that threatens to force CUNA to oppose the bill, Mica said, is the outcome of two amendments that would make changes to the card payments system. The amendments, SA 3769 and SA 3771, proposed by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), would “increase costs and reduce choice for consumers” and would “give the largest merchants further leverage to harm small businesses, which are already under significant pressures in this difficult economy,” Mica wrote. If those provisions were to be adopted into the bills language, CUNA, Mica warned, would change course and “strongly oppose enactment of this legislation.” The bulk of the comprehensive Mica letter outlines the credit union provisions in S.3217 and notes the CUNA-backed changes that the federal lawmakers have made to original language. “While we will continue to seek improvements in this legislation, we believe that S. 3217 takes a balanced approach” and “corrects the shortcomings of the existing system that contributed to the crisis, protects the financial system from future systemic threats, and does not adversely affect those parts of the system that have performed well throughout the crisis.” Also on Friday, CUNA sent a letter to Senate lawmakers urging them to adopt an amendment (SA 3843) to permanently increase the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund coverage amount to $250,000. Under the provisions of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, the higher share insurance coverage amount, like the federal bank insurance level, expires at the end of 2013. In a separate letter, CUNA continued to oppose an amendment that would impose an arbitrary, fifty-cents limit on the amount of an automatic teller machine (ATM) transaction. Use the resource link below to read the complete CUNA letters.