WASHINGTON (12/9/13)--The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Popular Democracy last week filed suit against the Federal Housing Finance Agency, seeking information on that agency's financial industry ties and its alleged "efforts to block municipalities from using eminent domain to prevent foreclosures."
The suit, which was brought under the Freedom of Information Act, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
The city of Richmond, Calif., this summer sent notice to holders of more than 620 mortgages, asking them to sell their loans to the city for 80% of the homes' fair value. The city then would write them down, and help the homeowners refinance their loans. If the offers aren't accepted, the city said it would use eminent domain to seize the loans at a value determined by a court.
Following these notices, the FHFA and Freddie Mac said they were considering taking legal action against the city of Richmond. The FHFA has expressed concern that losses resulting from such programs would ultimately be paid for by taxpayers.
The Credit Union National Association supports a broad range of programs to assist struggling homeowners and their communities, but believes that "using the power of eminent domain in this manner would harm our nation's housing markets and the very communities it is intended to help."
WASHINGTON (12/9/13)--The U.S. economy is "not all the way back to normal, but it's getting there," Credit Union National Association Vice President of Economics and Statistics Mike Schenk told The Washington Post
Schenk's comments were incorporated into coverage on new U.S. Department of Labor numbers which show the U.S. economy added 203,000 jobs in November. The unemployment rate also fell to 7% during that month, and around 455,000 employees joined the workforce, the department reported.
"Given the headwinds in the federal government sector, it's pretty impressive overall," Schenk said. He noted he expects the economy to expand at a 3% rate in 2014.
Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez noted the November employment report continues the 45-month trend of private-sector job growth, with 8.1 million new jobs created over that time.
"In the last 12 months alone, American businesses have added 2.3 million new private-sector jobs. This puts the American economy in a strong position heading into the December holiday season," Perez said.
For the full Washington Post
item, use the resource link.
WASHINGTON (12/9/13)--Credit unions share the U.S. House Small Business Committee's goal of increasing small business access to capital through the reduction of statutory and regulatory impediments. The Credit Union National Association suggested several ways that access could be improved, including increasing the member business lending cap, in a letter sent to committee members last week.
The letter was sent for the record of a Small Business subcommittee on economic growth, tax and capital access hearing entitled "Where Are We Now? Examining the Post-Recession Small Business Lending Environment."
In the letter, CUNA noted that "businesses want and need access to capital, but are experiencing difficulty and frustration when they approach their financial institution and discover that capital is not easily accessible, even if the business is successful."
Credit unions, CUNA said, "are well capitalized and exist to serve the financial needs of their members...Allowing the free market to function by removing the restrictions on the business lending portfolios of credit unions, will inject more capital in the market place and encourage growth in businesses and the communities in which they operate."
The letter spoke in support of the Credit Union Small Business Jobs Creation Act (H.R. 688), which would increase the MBL cap from 12.25% of assets to 27.5%. CUNA has estimated that lifting the MBL cap would create 140,000 jobs and inject $13 billion in new funds into the economy, at no cost to taxpayers.
"The bank lobby opposes this bill because they oppose credit unions; their arguments are without merit. The bill will not endanger the small banks in your community; the bill will not alter the nature or focus of credit unions; the bill is not inconsistent with the credit union mission or the purpose of their tax status," CUNA wrote.
Other suggestions for improving capital access include:
- Treating non-owner occupied one to four family dwelling loans as real estate loans;
- Increasing the de minimis credit union business loan amount to $500,000;
- Encouraging small business development in underserved, urban and rural communities;
- Excluding MBLs made to non-profit religious organizations from the MBL cap;
- Fully exempting government guaranteed business loans from the MBL cap;
- Enabling full credit union participation in the U.S. Small Business Administration's Section 504 program; and
- Reducing the loan loss reserve requirement of the SBA's microloan program.
For the full CUNA letter, use the resource link.
WASHINGTON (12/9/13)--While tax reform talk may soon subside in Washington over the holiday break, Credit Union National Association President/CEO Bill Cheney said credit unions must remain vigilant, as "attacks on our tax status in the states show no sign of letting up."
In this week's edition of The Cheney Report
, Cheney noted that House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) last week told reporters that tax legislation is unlikely to emerge from his committee before year's end, and that he would likely hold off unveiling a tax reform bill until February or March. CUNA Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs Ryan Donovan said both parties agree on the need for tax reform, "but when you get down to the details, you see they are still pretty far apart." Republicans, Donovan said, oppose tax increases, but Democrats insist that new revenues are part of the discussion.
Cheney said the delay of federal tax proposals is "not stopping attacks by bankers in states such as South Dakota, which has been weekly fending off 'tax resolutions' against our tax status brought by bankers on a county-by-county basis."
In CUNA's view, the South Dakota attacks are part of a trend: Other threats have emerged in Illinois and in other states. One member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), said "vigilance is eternal" in credit unions' campaign to maintain their tax status. Larson made his remarks in a video arranged by the Connecticut Credit Union League. (See Dec. 5 News Now
story: Rep. Larson Urges CUs to Remain Vigilant in Tax Status Advocacy: Camp Says No Bill in 2013.)
CUNA continues to encourage credit unions to use CUNA and state credit union league resources, social media sites including Facebook, and micro-video site Vine, to tell their legislators, "Don't Tax My Credit Union!" Credit union and member tax advocacy efforts have remained strong. Almost 1.2 million separate congressional contacts have been made since mid-May to support credit unions in ongoing tax talks.
This week's Cheney Report
- The results of a recent House hearing on regulatory relief legislation;
- A call for comments in CUNA's new exam survey; and
- Details on CUNA's efforts to expand the compliance window for pending Consumer Financial Protection Bureau mortgage measures.
Use the resource link to read the latest in The Cheney Report
WASHINGTON (12/9/13)--The unemployment rate fell to a post-recession low of 7%, according to labor market data released Friday. The economy added 203,000 jobs in November after a downwardly revised gain of 200,000 jobs in October.
The average monthly rate of net jobs gains over the past three months is 193,000, increasing the odds, according to Moody's analysts, that the Federal Reserve will scale back Quantitative Easing later this month. The relative labor market strength comes from a drop in layoffs (Economy.com
Observers who spoke to MarketWatch
, however, said that the labor market has not shown enough sustained improvement for the Fed to slow its bond purchasing program. Up to a quarter of jobs created last month could reflect seasonal hiring. The number of long-term job-seekers who can't find work, 4.1 million, was unchanged last month, and the steady decline in unemployment can be attributed to people dropping out of the labor force (MarketWatch
The labor force added 455,000 jobs in November, bringing the participation rate up to 63%. In September, however, it was 63.2% and in November 2012 it was 63.3%.
The length of the work week and average hourly earnings also increased slightly last month, with the former increasing to 34.4 hours to 34.5 hours and the former up by 0.2% from 0.1%.
Payroll gains were recorded in 63.5% of private industries, with the largest increases reported in retail, transportation, warehousing, business services, healthcare and manufacturing.
WASHINGTON (12/9/13)--Consumer credit issued by credit unions was up on a non-seasonally adjusted basis by $1.3 billion in October, according to Federal Reserve data released Friday.
The rise was part of a larger increase that saw consumer credit across the nation go up by $18.2 billion in October--the biggest increase recorded by the Fed in five months.
Driving the gains were increases in student loans and car loans. Households still appear reluctant to accumulate credit card debt, comparatively speaking (Economy.com
Dec 6). However, revolving debt, which includes purchases made with credit cards, was up by $4.3 billion in October after declining by $218 million in September. Non-revolving credit rose $13.9 billion in October after rising $16.5 billion in September (Bloomberg.com
Consumers borrowing increased by $16.3 in September, with an average increase of $16.7 billion over the past three months.
Daily Financial Rates -- 2013-12-09
Monday, December 9, 2013
03:55 AM CST
TREASURY YIELD CURVE
(based on the $1 million market)
Results of the December 3, 2013 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||0.050||0.050||0.060||0.080||0.070|
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.
NEW YORK (12/9/13)--The Credit Union National Association and the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions are hosting a free webinar on homeownership education, counseling, and financing at 2 p.m. (ET) Dec. 17.
The federation is a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-approved National Housing Counseling Intermediary. It helps credit unions and their local partners become HUD-approved counseling agencies.
Since 2008, the federation has helped members of CDCUs become first-time homebuyers through counseling that connects the homebuyer to the right mortgage loan and provides the skills, knowledge and preparation for successful homeownership. Pre-purchase counseling is key to reducing mortgage delinquency, according to NeighorWorks America.
This year, the federation has partnered with NeighborWorks America to better connect credit unions around the country to homeownership counseling and support services that will increase credit union lending for affordable homeownership.
Featured presenters at the webinar include:
- Ann Solomon, coordinator of the federation's Housing Counseling Network, will present pathways to building successful housing counseling programs.
- Eileen Anderson, senior relationship manager in homeownership for NeighborWorks America, will highlight partnership opportunities with NeighborWorks organizations nationwide.
- Cheryl Fatnassi, president/ CEO of $33 million-asset Opportunities CU, Winooskie, Vt., will showcase the credit union's range of affordable housing services and resources available to members in their Vermont communities.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (12/9/13)--Through "The Next Economy" project, National Journal
and The Atlantic
are profiling innovative programs that build and support a strong middle class. As the year closes, the publications are focusing on the best of the year, and that includes the work done by Latino Community CU (LCCU) in Durham, N.C.
It's not enough for low-income consumers to start relationships with financial institutions by opening accounts and saving money, according to National Journal
(Dec. 6). They need to establish good credit--a challenge for those with no history of any type of borrowing.
That's where a place like LCCU comes in. The $125 million-asset credit union has a mission of inclusive economic opportunity with a focus on Latino immigrants. All services are provided in both Spanish and English.
cited the credit union's lending success--it has a lower delinquency rate than the industry average. Members with no credit history can obtain loans at no extra cost, and many members previously were unbanked.
Other asset-building programs cited in the "Next Economy" are a San Francisco lending circle, an identification card that doubles as a prepaid debit card, online low-interest lending, and a fund that works to prevent mortgage delinquencies or foreclosures.
RALEIGH, N.C. (12/9/13)--State Employees' CU (SECU), Raleigh, N.C., is helping inmates at Pasquotank Correctional Institute make a successful transition back into society by offering a series of financial education sessions.
Staff members at the credit union's Elizabeth City-17 North branch teamed up with the correctional facility to develop a financial program for inmates who are working in the community and due to be released soon. The program includes three workshops covering the fundamentals of money management, including an overview of account types, budgeting and understanding credit reports.
"The program has been well received by the inmates," said Cindy Emory, SECU vice president of the Elizabeth City-17 North branch. "Participants were very interested in learning the basics of managing, saving and borrowing money. Hands on exercises and references to real life stories helped encourage questions and discussions about their future plans."
Before their release, inmates work in the community at animal shelters, food banks and with other local programs, Emory said. "Our financial workshop coincides perfectly with their community involvement, offering support and helping them recognize the importance of planning and successfully managing their money to improve their financial future," Emory said.
SECU's investment in delivering adult financial education programs within communities across North Carolina is foundational to its belief of helping others, Emory said By seeking partnerships with local state agencies and non-profit organizations, SECU uses its financial expertise as a resource for those in need of guidance during difficult times.
MERCERVILLE, N.J. (12/9/13)--High school requirements for personal finance courses were the highlight of a recent financial literacy symposium in New Jersey.
The New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education is one of the New Jersey Credit Union Foundation's partners, and it hosted the seventh annual Financial Literacy Symposium Dec. 5 (The Daily Exchange
|New Jersey credit union representatives talked about financial literacy during a symposium Dec. 5. (Photo courtesy of The Daily Exchange)|
New Jersey is one of 16 states that three years ago added the personal finance course requirement for high school graduation. Nine New Jersey schools participated in the pilot, and the initial findings were discussed at the symposium.
The data appears to support a full year of courses--students who took the test in the spring semester had better post-test scores than those who took the test after having just the fall semester, said Candice Nigro, league director of marketing and communications. A full report will be released next year.
New Jersey Credit Union League President/CEO Greg Michlig moderated the panel.
The audience included teachers, community leaders, financial advisers, and Social Security Administration representatives. Afterward, many of the attendees thanked Michlig for being a resource for their students, Nigro told News Now
, adding, "they also said it was good education for themselves."
Credit union representatives on the panel were:
- Ann South, president/CEO, Novartis FCU, East Hanover, and foundation chair;
- Lou Vetere, CEO, Garden Savings FCU, Parsippany, and league chairman;
- Cindy Rein-Zima, president/CEO, Hamilton Horizons FCY, Hamilton, and foundation board member;
- Bret Rigby, president/CEO, Deepwater Industries FCU, Deepwater; and
- Jean-Albert Maisonneuve, vice president of marketing and eCommerce, Affinity FCU, Basking Ridge.
RALEIGH, N.C. (12/9/13)--As they approach the Jan. 1 date of their official merger, the North Carolina and South Carolina Credit Union Leagues are revealing the brand identity of the Carolinas Credit Union League through various social media platforms.
On Dec. 2, the new CCUL Facebook and Twitter pages revealed a snippet of the league's brand story through video on YouTube, the North Carolina Credit Union League said. (Weekly Conversation
"Staff in both states have worked hard this year to create a league that stirs pride within each of us and member credit unions," said Geoff Finken, NCCUL director of administration. "Seeing the new identity of the Carolinas Credit Union League really brought it home for me. We will be the strongest advocate and more for credit unions in the Carolinas--that message really gets at the heart of what we're all about."
For the past several months, a joint league team worked with 3rd Degree Advertising, Durham, N.C., on developing a logo, brand vision and communications strategy for the new league. A Nov. 21 all-staff meeting in Columbia, S.C. included an internal brand rollout and celebration.
The new logo and a full video will be unveiled in the coming weeks along with a new website.
WASHINGTON (12/6/13)--Home & Family Finance Radio this week explores the world of online promotion, whether it's marketing a business to potential customers or yourself to a potential mate.
In Sunday's episode, which you can listen to on the Internet, host Paul Berry, Washington, D.C. journalist and broadcaster, discusses these topics with special guests:
"Market Effectively Online." Social media expert John McDougall, president of Internet marketing firm McDougall Interactive, Danvers, Mass., explains how to get started marketing yourself or your company online.
"Fall In Love Over the Internet." Pamela Riley, dating and marriage expert, New York, explains the dos and don'ts of online dating.
Home & Family Finance is a resource center for personal finance information at the Credit Union National Association. The radio show is sponsored by CO-OP Network, the national credit union ATM network; and the Defense Credit Union Council and member credit unions, serving those who serve the country worldwide.
Home & Family Finance airs Sundays at 3 p.m. (ET) on the Radio America Network. The show also is carried on American Forces Radio Network. The one-hour program devoted to consumer finance issues is brought to you by America's credit unions and their 97 million members, and is presented by CO-OP Network.
CUNA and Radio America are podcasting Home & Family Finance through iTunes, Podcast Alley, Odeo, and other popular podcast library sites, as well as on Radio America and CUNA's websites.
For related information, read "Holidays Are Rich with Teachable Money Moments" and "Retirement: More to Prepare Than Finances" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center
NEW YORK (12/3/2013)--Between juggling student loan payments, rent, and other bills, you might be tempted to skip a credit card payment. Don't do it. Missing a payment can lower your credit score, which can lead to difficulty getting a loan or even a job (nytimes.com
Millennials, young adults ages 19 to 29, actually have the fewest number of credit cards and the lowest average balance on them, according to Experian's annual state of credit report. But, they also have the lowest credit scores and frequently make late payments on their cards.
The average overall credit score in Experian's report is 681; the average for millennials is 628. Shorter credit histories and high utilization rates are two factors that account for the low scores.
To learn more about your credit score and give it a boost, understand:
What makes up a credit score--Payment history, amounts owed (especially as a percentage of credit available--the utilization factor), length of credit history, new credit, and types of credit in use determine your credit score.
How to improve your credit score--Pay all bills on time, every time. Also consider using a secured credit card. A secured card trades access to credit for your commitment to keep a certain amount of money in a savings account. The professionals at your credit union can set you up with a secured card.
How to get your credit report--You can request one free credit report a year from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus by visiting annualcreditreport.com, the only website authorized to provide these free reports. You also can call 877-322-8228 or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA, 30348-5281.
For more information about cleaning up your credit, read "Six Slam-Dunk Ways to Trash Your Credit Score" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center
DES MOINES, Ill. (12/9/13)--PolicyWorks recently signed six credit unions for assistance with compliance strategy and implementation.
Jemez Valley CU, with $18 million in assets Jemez Springs, N.M., and $194 million asset Montana FCU, Great Falls, Mont., contracted with PolicyWorks for federal compliance support. PolicyWorks will partner with the credit unions in interpreting and implementing new regulations, and for evaluating the impact on their credit unions. PolicyWorks staff will also review the credit unions' disclosures, documents and new-product strategies for compliance with federal regulations.
Montana FCU will also take advantage of PolicyWorks' newly launched ComplyRight Mortgage package, which walks credit unions through the specific actions that need to be taken to properly implement the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's new mortgage regulations. Anheuser-Busch Employees' CU, with $1.4 billion in assets, St. Louis, $863 million I.H. Mississippi Valley FCU, Moline, Ill., and $480 million Thrivent FCU, Appleton, Wis., have also signed on to use PolicyWorks' ComplyRight mortgage services.
FORUM CU, with $939 million in assets, Fishers, Ind., has contracted with PolicyWorks to ensure their newly restarted credit card program is in compliance with federal regulations.
Also, creative agency Play Creative Design has contracted with PolicyWorks to complete a comprehensive review of the marketing communication and documents it creates for credit union clients.