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Text scam going to consumers from NCUA phone number

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (3/26/15)--More than 40 consumers around the country have received a scam phone text message purporting to use a National Credit Union Administration phone number, the agency announced Wednesday.

Consumers who receive a text from 703-518-6301 asking for personal information should contact the agency's Consumer Assistance Center hotline at 800-755-1030.
The NCUA's privacy policy states that it will never request personal or financial information from consumers.
According to the NCUA, the perpetrators are able to mimic a telephone number to generate text messages. The messages may warn of a debit card reaching its limit or use some other trick to persuade individuals to provide personal information or go to a malicious website.
Consumers should not click on links in the message, provide information to any websites referenced in the message nor attempt to conduct any financial transactions through those websites.
This attempted fraud scam is classified as " spoofing " by the Federal Communications Commission.

Inside Washington (3/26/15)

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  • WASHINGTON (3/26/15)-- Zixta Martinez, associate director of external affairs for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will kick off a public field hearing in Richmond, Va., today to discuss payday lending. The field hearing, scheduled from noon to 2 p.m. (ET), will feature remarks by CFPB Director Richard Cordray; Mark Herring, attorney general of Virginia; and Joe Face, commissioner of the Virginia Bureau of Financial Institutions. Those remarks will be followed by a panel discussion with consumer groups and payday lending industry representatives. The session will conclude with an open mic session for audience participation ...

NEW: 9 CUNA-back relief bills approved by House Financial Services Committee

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WASHINGTON (3/26/15, UPDATED 11:11 a.m. ET)--Nine regulatory relief bills supported by CUNA were approved by the House Financial Services Committee this morning after a two-day markup of a series of bills.

"These bills are a step in the right direction toward removing barriers and allowing credit unions to efficiently serve their members," said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle.

"I look forward to seeing these pieces of legislation that reduce regulatory burden come the House floor for a vote. When credit unions boards and managers--not government bureaucrats--are making decisions about how to provide services, it's the 102 million member-owners of the credit union who benefit."

The bills that passed the committee today include:
  • H.R. 299, the Capital Access for Small Community Financial Institutions Act, introduced by Reps. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) and Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), corrects a drafting oversight in the Federal Home Loan Bank Act that has resulted in a small number of privately insured credit unions being ineligible to join a Federal Home Loan Bank. This bill passed by a vote of 56-1.
  •  H.R. 601, the Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act, introduced by Reps. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) and Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), would eliminate the requirement financial institutions currently face to send their members or customers privacy policy notifications annually, and instead would only require such notifications when the privacy policy is changed. This bill passed by a vote of 57-0.
  • H.R. 1195, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Advisory Board Act, introduced by Reps. Pittenger (R-N.C.) and Denny Heck (D-Wash.), would require the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by law to eastablish the Credit Union Advisory Council, as well as the Small Business Advisory Board and the Community Bank Advisory Council.  These advisory councils had previously been voluntarily established by the CFPB.  The separate Consumer Advisory Board is already codified in statute. This bill passed by a vote of 53-5.
  • H.R. 1265, the Bureau Advisory Commission Transparency Act, introduced by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), would, in effect, open bureau advisory committee meetings to the public. This bill passed by a vote of 56-2.
  • H.R. 1259, the Helping Expand Lending Practices in Rural Community Act, introduced by Reps. Andy Barr (R-Ken.) and Ruben Hinojosa (D-Texas), directs the CFPB to establish an application process determining whether an area should be designated as a rural area if the CFPB has not designated it as one. This bill passed by a vote of 56-2.
  • H.R. 1480, the SAFE Confidentiality and Privilege Enhancement Act, introduced by Reps. Robert  Dold (R-Ill.) and Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), would require that confidentiality protections provided by federal and state laws apply when state and federal regulatory officials with mortgage or financial services industry oversight authority access any information provided to the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry.  This bill passed by a vote of 58-0.
  •  H.R. 1408, the Mortgage Servicing Asset Capital Requirements Act, introduced by Reps. Perlmutter and Luetkemeyer, requires federal banking agencies to conduct a study of the appropriate capital requirements for mortgage servicing assets for nonsystemic banking institutions. This bill passed by a vote of 49-9.
  •  H.R. 1529, the Community Institution Mortgage Relief Act, introduced by Reps. Sherman and Luetkemeyer, would exempt mortgage loans made by financial institutions under $10 billion in assets and held in portfolio for three years from RESPA's escrow requirements and would also exempt mortgage servicers that service fewer than 20,000 mortgages annually from a number of requirements of RESPA.  This bill passed by a vote of 48-10.
  • H.R. 685, Mortgage Choice Act, introduced by Reps. Bill Huizenga R-Mich.) and Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), would make an important modification to the Truth-in-Lending Act's definition of "points and fees."  This bill passed by a vote of 43-12.
The next step in the House for these bills would be a vote on the House floor.

For more detail on each bill, use the resource link to the News Now story.

CUNA backs CU RBC2 comment efforts with new resource

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WASHINGTON (3/26/15)--With 22 working days left until the comment deadline for the risk-based capital proposal--often referred to as RBC2, CUNA is providing new resources in its effort to encourage credit unions to weigh in. Again.
The deadline is April 27.
The National Credit Union Administration abandoned its original RBC plan, issued in January 2014, after it received 2,056 comments from credit unions, lawmakers and others that listed concerns regarding how the plan would impact credit unions and consumers.
The agency issued its second RBC proposal this January, and CUNA has said it is a substantially improved regime--but still a solution in search of a problem.
"With reductions in many of the risk weights found in the original plan, and a reduction to 10% for the well-capitalized requirement, the second proposal is an improvement," says Bill Hampel, CUNA chief policy officer.
However, he emphasizes there are still significant problems with the proposal, particularly as it relates to an additional "capital adequacy" requirement, and the future treatment of interest-rate risk so it is imperative that credit unions stay engaged in this rulemaking process to have as much impact on proposal improvements as possible.
As part of its new resources , CUNA has developed a "comment letter guide" with information regarding the need for and value of commenting on the plan and how to comment.

"There remain a number of areas that should still be improved, and they are described in the guide," Hampel says.
"We are asking credit unions to individually tell their stories to NCUA, so the agency understands that their rule will have real impact on real credit unions and their very real members," CUNA's chief policy officer adds.

CUNA-supported amendment added to data breach bill

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WASHINGTON (3/26/15)--A data security bill passed the House Energy subcommittee on commerce, manufacturing and trade Wednesday, and it included a CUNA-supported technical correction amendment.

The amendment exempts both federal- and state-chartered financial institutions from the bill because those institutions already are subject to strict security standards under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.

The Data Security and Breach Notification Act of 2015 would require certain entities that collect and maintain personal information of individuals to secure such information. The breached entity must also provide notice to such individuals within 30 days of determining the scope of the breach.

A violation of the act would be classified as an unfair or deceptive act or practice under the Federal Trade Commission Act, and would be enforced by the FTC or state attorneys general.

CUNA has pushed for stricter standards than the current bill calls for, particularly in the area of merchant data security standards. Along with other financial trade organizations, CUNA outlined those principles in letters to Congress last month.

HFSC to vote on reg. relief package today

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WASHINGTON (3/26/15)--CUNA continues to monitor the advancement of nine regulatory relief bills being considered by the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, which is expected to vote on a relief package today.

Eleven regulatory relief bills in total were marked up by the committee Wednesday.

As previously reported in News Now , a number of the bills passed the committee in the previous Congress, including several that passed without any opposing votes.

"Witness after witness has come before our committee over the last several years to speak about the weight, the volume, the complexity, the cost and uncertainty of Washington regulations," said Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), chair of the committee. "One community banker who appeared before our committee last week called this 'an avalanche of new rules.' It is not an exaggeration to say that America's community financial institutions are withering on the vine."

Members of the committee seemed especially concerned with regulatory burdens that are causing financial institutions to limit products offered, and how such burdens are not only affecting financial institutions, but the consumers who rely on them.

Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) said a common theme in recent regulatory relief hearings is that small financial institutions appear ready to stop offering products such as mortgages.

"When they leave the mortgage market in those smaller communities, there's no place for the people who live in those communities to get a mortgage loan," he said, speaking in support of the Mortgage Servicing Asset Capital Requirements Act of 2015 (H.R. 1480).

Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) said he was especially concerned with regulations that see community institutions as existing on the same level as the largest banks. He cited the Community Institution Mortgage Relief Act (H.R. 1529) as an example of tangible regulatory relief.

The bill would provide safe harbor from escrow requirements for loans held in portfolio for some smaller financial institutions, and exempt institutions that service less than 20,000 mortgages per year.

"Community banks and credit unions that service less than 20,000 mortgages per year should not be subject to the same regulations as an institution that has a $2 trillion servicing portfolio," he said.

All bills will considered during the markup be subject to a recorded vote, which is expected to begin at 9 a.m. (ET).

FCUs will share tech grant benefits at April 15 webinar

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (3/25/15)--Two federal credit unions will share their experiences using grant funds to introduce new technologies to better serve their members during a National Credit Union Administration webinar scheduled for April 15.

The NCUA announced the webinar Tuesday, which will also feature agency staff discussing grant and loan opportunities available from the NCUA throughout 2015.
Lynn Gray, CEO of Remington FCU, Ilion, N.Y., and Lowell Stevens, president/CEO of Latah FCU, Moscow, Idaho, will share their experiences using grant funds to introduce mobile banking applications and remote deposit capture services to their members.
Members of the NCUA's Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives will discuss the grant application process and the four grant initiatives that NCUA will fund: cybersecurity, building capacity branching, digital growth and new products and services.
A 30-minute question-and-answer session will follow the presentations. Registration is now open, and the webinar is scheduled to run from 2 to 3:30 p.m. (ET) April 15.