WASHINGTON (3/30/15)--CUNA is asking the National Credit Union Administration not to reduce a current five-month timeframe that credit unions with assets of $10 billion or more have for stress testing.
filed Friday on proposed changes to the agency's capital planning and stress-testing rule, CUNA said a proposed reduction to four months from five would result in approximately 20% less time for affected credit unions to perform tasks required under the stress-testing rule.
The compressed timeframes proposed by the agency, the CUNA letter warned, would not provide credit unions sufficient time to complete required capital plans.
The letter also argues that the NCUA should re-evaluate the nine-quarter planning horizon requirement and instead make it eight quarters.
WASHINGTON (3/30/15)--A bill intended to increase the sharing of information on cyberthreats was passed by the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence last week.
The Protecting Cyber Networks Act (H.R. 1560) permits only voluntary sharing by the private sector of cyberthreat indicators only for cybersecurity purposes.
The bill also:
- Prohibits the government from forcing private sector entities to provide information;
- Requires companies to remove personal information before information is shared, and the federal agency receiving cyberthreat indicators to perform a second check for personal information before sharing it with other relevant federal agencies;
- Limits the private-to-private sharing to only cyberthreat indicators and defensive measures to combat a threat;
- Imposes strict restrictions on the use, retention and searching of any data voluntarily shared by the private sector with the government;
- Does not shield a company from willful misconduct in the course of sharing cyberthreat indicators but provides liability protections for companies that share in good faith;
- Permits individuals to sue the federal government for intentional privacy violations in federal court; and
- Requires a detailed biennial inspectors general report of appropriate federal entities of the government's receipt, use and dissemination of cyberthreat indicators. The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (a bipartisan agency within the executive branch) must also submit a biennial report on the privacy and civil liberties impact of the act.
A similar bill was
by the Senate Intelligence Committee last month.
WASHINGTON (3/30/15)--The IRS has announced an April 8 webinar on unrelated business income tax (UBIT) and tax-exempt organizations.
The webinar, offered by the IRS's Tax Exemption & Government Entities Division, will provide information on:
- Three parts test;
- Common types of activities;
- Exceptions and exclusions;
- Principal form used to report; and,
- IRS resources.
Presenters for the 2 p.m. (ET) session will be
, tax law specialist, IRS Office of Exempt Organizations , and
, tax law specialist, IRS Office of Exempt Organizations.
Those interested in participating can sign up
Also related to UBIT, the IRS issued a "new" memo to replace its 2014 memo on the same subject, but the new memo makes no changes in its listing of what products and services offered by state-chartered credit unions trigger UBIT.
See the related item in Inside Washington.
WASHINGTON (3/30/15)--An amendment to the U.S. Senate budget resolution passed last week would establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to address disproportionate regulatory burdens on credit unions and community banks.
Proposed by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), the amendment allows for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, amendments between the houses, motions or conference reports that would alleviate regulatory burden.
Both chambers of the U.S. Congress passed budget resolutions last week, and CUNA continues to analyze the budget resolutions for anything that could potentially affect credit unions.
Another amendment to the Senate resolution would end "too big to fail" bailouts of banks with $500 billion in assets or more.
A number of other issues of note to credit unions were addressed in the Senate's "vote-a-rama" which stretched to Friday morning but weren't adopted.
The Senate passed its budget resolution by a vote of 52-46.
The House budget resolution consisted of six different budget plans; a budget developed by the House Budget Committee, and consideration of five other budgets. A version of the budget that mirrored the House Budget Committee offering with an additional $2 billion in defense spending passed by a 228-199 vote.
The next step in the budget process is a conference committee between the House and Senate to work through details of both resolutions and come out with a common budget that will be sent to both houses for final passage.
The Senate and House will be in recess for the next two weeks for a spring district work session.
Daily Financial Rates -- 2015-03-30
Monday, March 30, 2015
03:55 AM CDT
TREASURY YIELD CURVE
(based on the $1 million market)
Results of the March 23, 2015 auction of short-term U.S. government bills, sold at a discount from face value in units of $10,000 to $ 1 million
||Last changed December 16, 2008 |
|near closing bid||0.090||0.080||0.070||0.070||0.110|
FREDDIE MAC (Mortgage commitments, 30 days)
FANNIE MAE (Mortgage commitments, 30 days)
COMMERCIAL PAPER (Financial, 90 days)
: Data not available at time of page generation (shown at top of page)
Wall Street Journal
U.S. Dept. of the Treasury
All rates are from the previous business day unless otherwise noted.
IRVINE, Calif. (3/30/15)--Home-price appreciation has climbed 13 times faster than wage growth over the past two years in the United States, according to recent data from Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac.
In fact, home prices have risen by 17% in the two years ending in December 2014, while median wages have only inched up 1.3% over that same stretch.
"Home prices in many housing markets across the country found a floor in 2012 and since then have rapidly appreciated, particularly in markets attracting institutional investors, international buyers or some other flavor of cash buyer not constrained by income as much as traditional buyers," said Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac vice president. "Eventually, however, those traditional buyers will need to play a bigger role in the housing market for the recovery to maintain its momentum."
Home-price appreciation outpaced wage growth in 140 of 184 U.S. metros, according to the data.
Affordability still remains intact in many places, however, as out of the 184 markets analyzed, nearly three quarters had a median home sales price that required less than 28% of median income for monthly mortgage payments.
"Those markets with the biggest disconnect between price growth and wage growth during the last two years are most likely to see plateauing home prices in 2015 until wages catch up," Blomquist said. "Meanwhile, markets where wage growth has outpaced home-price appreciation during the last two years are poised to see at least steady growth in home prices in 2015 in most cases."
The metro areas that saw the highest rates of home-price appreciation compared with wage growth for the two years ending in the fourth quarter of 2014 were Sacramento, Calif., Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif., Las Vegas and Detroit.
MANCHESTER, N.H. (3/30/15)--CUNA President/CEO Nussle returned to the roots of the credit union movement recently, visiting America's Credit Union Museum in Manchester, N.H., where the first credit union in the United States was housed.
Jim Nussle, CUNA president/CEO, immerses himself in credit union history with Ron Covey, board member, America's Credit Union Museum, and president/CEO, St. Mary's Bank CU, Manchester, N.H., during a recent visit to America's Credit Union Museum. (America's Credit Union Museum Photo)
exhibits showcase the myriad ways credit unions have improved the lives of Americans across the country over the last century.
Its mission is to continue to share the history of credit unions for future generations through its one-of-a-kind experience that connects visitors to the cooperative philosophy of credit unions.
"It was an honor to see America's Credit Union Museum first hand and experience the storied history of the credit union movement," Nussle said. "I'm proud of the work credit unions have been doing for Americans for 100 years and look forward to what the next century holds."
Nussle also visited the building next door to the museum that will host the future CUNA Research Center. The space will accommodate a virtual "library" that will allow credit unions, consumers, the media, regulators and others to explore the colorful history of credit unions.
CUNA recently pledged $1 million to the museum's Legacy Capital Campaign that will help ensure the institution preserves the rich history of the credit union system for future generations.
The three-year campaign has a fundraising goal of $3.3 million that will be used to build out the new research center, create additional exhibit space and renovate portions of the existing building.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. (3/30/15)--Supporting Catholic parishes and schools nationwide is the goal of the new Elevate fundraising campaign from Notre Dame FCU.
In response to Pope Francis' call for new forms of economic cooperatives, the Notre Dame, Ind.-based credit union will apply the cooperative ideal to back the mission of Catholic parishes and schools.
"We know that finances for Catholic parishes and schools are tight," said Tom Gryp, Notre Dame FCU president/CEO, who added that the concept taps into the cooperative spirit of credit unions to raise money for initiatives nationwide.
program will donate a percentage of eligible Notre Dame FCU credit products directly to the member's selected parish or school. Parish and school capital project loans and member business loans are also eligible for benefits through the Elevate program.
For example, if a family buys or refinances a vehicle for $20,000 with a loan through the Elevate program, Notre Dame FCU will make a $275 donation to the sponsoring parish or school.
Gryp also said the program won't be limited to Catholic entities. "Eventually, we will open up the Elevate program to any organization affiliated with Notre Dame FCU looking for a meaningful fundraising opportunity," he said.
DULUTH, Ga. (3/30/15)--The Georgia Senate passed a bill supported by the Georgia Credit Union Affiliates (GCUA) earlier this month that would introduce parity between state-chartered and federally chartered credit unions. The bill now only awaits the signature of Gov. Nathan Deal.
"Putting state-chartered institutions on the same level playing field as federal institutions in this state will create a positive environment for those operating in Georgia," said Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe), who introduced the bill, HB 184.
Williamson, who noted GCUA for its support in helping to pass the bill, also said that HB 184 would help strengthen state-chartered credit unions and make Georgia a better place for business.
Since the bill was introduced in February, GCUA has acted as a resource for legislators to consult with on the proposed legislation.
In addition to adding parity for state-chartered credit unions, HB 184 would also outline how a bank could convert to a credit union; require out-of-state credit unions operating in Georgia to have federal insurance; and provide the Department of Banking and Finance the ability to conserve a troubled credit union.
Further, the bill would require that comprehensive audits of credit unions be performed by licensed, independent accountants or firms; set a minimum standard of conduct for directors by outlining impermissible actions; and provide credit unions the ability to pay the required amount to join the credit union on the members' behalf if they so choose.
NEW YORK (3/30/15)--A review of top merchants' financial statements found that the cost of data security breaches--while devastating to credit unions and consumers--barely makes a dent in their annual revenues.
Benjamin Dean, a fellow for Internet governance and cybersecurity at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs,
10-K reports filed by Sony, Target and Home Depot with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Among his findings:
- Target's 2013 breach affected 40 million credit and debit cards and 70 million personal information records. It reported the gross expenses were $252 million. Once the insurance reimbursements and tax deductions were accounted for, the net losses totaled $105 million--equivalent to 0.1% of 2014 sales;
- In 2014, Home Depot had a breach that affected 56 million credit and debit card numbers and 53 million email addresses. The home improvement retailer incurred net expenses of $28 million after an insurance reimbursement of $15 million. Those expenses are less than 0.01% of Home Depot's 2014 sales; and
- Sony reported the November 2014 hack into its computer systems--which exposed Social Security numbers and personal emails--would cost $44 million. However, estimates now put the impact at $15 million in investigation and remediation costs. These losses represent 0.9%-2% of Sony's total projected sales for 2014.
"It therefore does not make economic sense for companies like Home Depot to make large investments in information security. As a result, they do not," Dean wrote. "The insurance pay-outs and tax deductible breach-related expenses weaken the incentives even more."
Dean also cited CUNA's research that found the Home Depot breach cost credit unions $60 million.
Dean's article was picked up by
The Wall Street Journal
Target's announcement that it settled a consumer class-action lawsuit for $10 million does not mean financial institutions are being recompensed. The settlement only covers payments to consumers for damages they can prove.
"Credit unions continue to protect their members as a result of merchant data breaches--and there's no end in sight. It's high time for merchants to be held to the same standards as financial institutions to ensure all consumers' private information is protected," CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle said after Target settled a $10 million consumer class-action lawsuit (
on to a letter to Congress from financial services associations that suggested merchants look toward innovative security instead of increased usage of chip-and-PIN EMV cards--status quo security that does not protect consumer data (
HARRISBURG, Pa. (3/30/15)--The power of prize-linked savings (PLS) accounts may soon continue its march across the country, as a bill was recently introduced in the Pennsylvania Legislature that would authorize credit unions to offer the innovative savings product to members.
House Bill 837, the Savings Promotion Raffle Authorization Act, was introduced by Rep. Rosemary Brown (R-Monroe), who has been working extensively with the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) and other stakeholders to develop the legislation (
Life is a Highway
Savings promotion raffles, or PLS accounts, encourage credit union members to save by incentivizing them with opportunities to win cash each time they put a set amount of money away each month.
While of course not every member who saves money wins a cash prize, they still will have built up their savings account and bolstered their savings habits.
"Studies indicate that consumers are not saving for their futures, and programs to promote savings are a win for all consumers," said Patrick Conway, PCUA president/CEO. "Credit unions work daily to better the lives of members, and this initiative is another avenue to assist them."
Eleven states have authorized credit unions to offer PLS accounts, including Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington.
Bills that would authorize credit unions to offer PLS accounts are also making their way through state legislatures in Oregon, Minnesota and New Jersey.
ARLINGTON, Va. (3/24/15)--After more than a decade of filing complaints about errors--and getting nowhere--consumers are about to get relief. Under a new agreement, credit rating agencies will be required to conduct independent reviews of complaints, correct the reports and change the way they treat medical debt (PBS News Hour
The three largest credit rating agencies (CRAs)--Equifax, TransUnion and Experian--were relying on lenders to provide data, without conducting independent reviews. Consumers would find errors in their credit reports and submit documentation of proof to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), but nothing would change.
The new agreement, which begins in six months and lasts three years, brings the changes consumers have been waiting for: The agencies will be required to use specially trained employees to conduct an independent review of every complaint.
In addition to independent reviews, consumers can expect:
Help with complex issues. A special team of people will deal with issues like identity theft or file mix-ups.
Improved data quality. Lenders, credit-card issuers and collection agencies will use consistent standards for reporting credit data, monitored by the CRAs.
Help with tickets or fines. The CRAs will stop reporting debts such as tickets or fines that do not arise from an agreement to pay.
More time to deal with medical debt. Consumers will have more time--180 days--to resolve conflicts over unpaid medical debt. Medical debt accounts for 52% of all debt on credit reports.
Favorably resolved medical debt will disappear from reports. After an insurer pays a medical debt, the CRAs will remove the debt from the consumer's credit report.
Expanded educational material. Consumers visiting annualcreditreport.com to obtain an annual free credit report will see expanded educational material and, if they dispute a report, no longer will have to wait a year for another free report.
The FTC estimates that 10 million Americans have errors significant enough to affect the cost of borrowing.
Request your free credit report from all three agencies once a year. Always make your requests from annualcreditreport.com
, the only site sanctioned by the FTC, or, call 877-322-8228. Better yet, monitor your credit report year round by making one request every four months in rotation among the three CRAs.
For related information, read "Six Slam-Dunk Ways to Trash Your Credit Score" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.
WESTBROOK, Maine (3/30/15)--Synergent recently held the inaugural meeting of its payment systems transformation task force and addressed EMV, Apple Pay, big data and data breaches.
Madeline Aufseeser, senior analyst for Aite Group, addresses the first meeting of the Synergent and Maine Credit Union League payment systems transformation task force at the CU Service Center. (Maine Credit Union League)
The task force, initiated by Synergent and the Maine Credit Union League, consists of a dozen credit union representatives with payments system experience or senior executives with a strong understanding of payments.
"Today, credit unions have many competitive advantages; they have been recognized for their strong adoption of mobile services," said John Murphy, league president and president of Synergent. "Think about how mobile technology is changing the way members conduct their finances. This task force is one way that Synergent will continue to make sure credit unions are well-positioned for the future."
Aite Group Senior Analyst Madeline Aufseeser presented the challenges and opportunities of the evolving payments environment.
"Yes, we will have some regulatory challenges," Aufseeser said. "However, the opportunities are being built around creating revenue for credit unions, competing in the marketplace and bringing added value to members."
She advised credit unions mine their data to analyze payments behaviors and segment members. "Your credit union will want to increase debit card usage and build relationships for more loyal members," Aufseeser said.
"Rewarding members for using your credit union's card is going to get bigger, and your card will need to be top in the mobile wallet. Keeping your card relevant to your members is important."
Tim Verreault, senior vice president at Evergreen CU, Portland, Maine, said task force discussions will help credit unions determine the right product offerings to members, even as they face the challenges of resource availability and revenue growth.
Rebekah Higgins, Synergent vice president of payment services, presented how Synergent is prepared to help credit unions launch EMV-and-chip technology, tokenization and Apple Pay.
"Payments covers such a wide range of issues and services and is such a significant part of credit union operations. This task force will help to provide leadership in navigating all of the changes happening at a rapid pace," added Murphy.
Synergent is a credit union service organization that provides technology services, check and cards processing and direct marketing services to credit unions.