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NCUA releases 2014, 2015 HMDA requirements guidance

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (3/2/15)--Guidance on Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data for 2014 and 2015 has been issued by the National Credit Union Administration. HMDA, which falls under the authority of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, requires lending institutions to report public loan data.

Credit unions subject to HMDA requirements in 2014 must submit loan/application register (LAR) data to the Federal Reserve board no later than today.  Credit unions located in metropolitan areas that engage in certain types of residential lending that had more than $43 million in assets as of Dec. 31, 2013, must file submit this data.

According to the NCUA, it will be provided a list of credit unions that do not submit the required data after March 2, and those institutions could be subject to civil money penalties.

Data may be submitted via paper form by credit unions with 25 or fewer entries on their LAR, all others must submit an automated form via Web or email.

Credit unions must collect HMDA data associated with mortgage loan applications processed during 2015 if they meet the following criteria:
  • Total assets exceeding $44 million, as of Dec. 31, 2014;
  • Existence of a home or branch office in a Metropolitan Statistical Area on Dec. 31, 2014; and
  • During 2014, the credit union originated at least one home purchase loan (other than temporary financing such as a construction loan) or refinanced a home purchase loan, secured by a first lien on a one- to four-family dwelling.
Credit unions that do not meet all three criteria are exempt from filing HMDA data for calendar year 2015.

Data collected by credit unions for 2015 is due to the Federal Reserve board by March 1, 2016.

CUNA recommends CU candidates for CFPB advisory groups

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WASHINGTON (3/2/15)--CUNA noted in a letter Friday that credit union representation at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) through membership on its advisory boards is key to ensuring the unique perspective of credit unions is not only heard, but also taken into consideration as a part of any and all rulemakings affecting credit unions.

CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle sent the letter to recommend credit union candidates for the CFPB's  Credit Union Advisory Council (CUAC) and Consumer Advisory Board (CAB).

Nussle wrote the credit union leaders nominated by CUNA would bring "collective and individual experience, knowledge and expertise on issues relating to consumer protection, financial institution operations, financial regulations and public policy concerns."

Appointments to the CFPB groups are generally for two years but can be modified by the CFPB director. New members of the councils will begin their terms this fall.

The CUAC advises the bureau on regulating financial products and services, and how it will affect credit unions. It currently consists of 16 members, and is chaired by Rose Bartolomucci, president/CEO, Towpath CU, Fairlawn, Ohio. The council is permitted to have between 15 and 20 members.

The CAB is a group of experts on topics such as consumer protection, community development, fair lending and underserved communities. The board informs the bureau of emerging practices and trends in the consumer finance industry.

The board must have at least 16 members, and currently has 31 members. It is chaired by Bill Bynum, CEO, Hope FCU, Jackson, Miss.

Inside Washington (3/2/15)

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WASHINGTON (3/2/15)--The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will be holding a meeting of its Credit Union Advisory Council March 12 from 3 to 5 p.m. (ET). It will feature a discussion of the role of credit unions in cultivating consumer financial education and financial capability. The meeting is open to the public but requires an RSVP. It will be held at the CFPB's headquarters on First Street in Washington, D.C. ...

FinCEN fines Pa. bank for failing to report suspicious activity

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WASHINGTON (3/2/15)--After the bank admitted it failed to file suspicious activity reports on transactions involving illicit proceeds from a judicial corruption scheme, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) assessed a $1.5 million civil money penalty against the First National Community Bank (FNCB) of Dunmore, Pa.
FinCEN charges that FNCB "willfully" violated the Bank Secrecy Act during a corruption scheme that spanned five years.
FinCEN reported that two former Pennsylvania judges were convicted of misusing their positions as judges to profit from, among other things, sending thousands of juveniles to detention facilities in which the judges had a financial interest. Despite several red flags indicating suspicious activity, FinCEN said in a release, FNCB did not file a single suspicious activity report even after one judge's first guilty plea in the matter in 2009.
"The criminal case affected the lives of thousands of children and parents," noted FinCEN Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery. "Banks have a duty to spot suspicious activity and to report it.  Law enforcement relies on this valuable information. FNCB's failure to file timely suspicious activity reports may have deprived law enforcement of information valuable for tracking millions of dollars in related corrupt funds."

New bill highlights support in Congress for NCUA budget transparency

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WASHINGTON (3/2/15)--Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) wants the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the National Credit Union Administration's budgeting practices and identify ways the agency can increase the transparency of its process to its regulated credit unions, the U.S. Congress and the public in general. It is a goal strongly advocated by CUNA and the trade association has worked steadily toward that end since the NCUA ceased its budget-hearing process in 2009.

On Friday, Mulvaney introduced The NCUA Budget Transparency Act (H.R. 1176).

CUNA Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan said that the introduction of the bill, combined with the interest in the budget transparency issue following the recent Senate Banking Committee hearings on regulatory relief for credit unions and community banks, is further evidence that there is congressional interest in how NCUA is using the funds that credit unions--and by extension their members--send the agency and whether the agency is sufficiently taking into consideration stakeholder concerns.

"CUNA has suggested that one small step NCUA could take in an effort to improve the budget process would be to resume the budget hearings that were conducted for several years.

"This proposal is one that has resonated with members of Congress, of course, because they receive similar stakeholder input on a regular basis through the hearing process on Capitol Hill. A budget hearing wouldn't be burdensome to the agency or the board members, but it would be a meaningful step the agency could take to send the signal that they understand the concerns credit unions have regarding the increases in the budget and the use of the resources credit unions provide," Donovan emphasized.

If enacted, the Mulvaney legislation would require the GAO to report its findings to federal lawmakers within 18 months of enactment.

GAC countdown: Treasury's Gerety, CFPB's Martinez invited to join power-packed lineup

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WASHINGTON (3/2/15)--With CUNA's Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) set to kick off in less than a week, two key federal policymakers have been added to a lineup that already features a number of high-profile regulatory and legislative policymakers.

Amias Gerety, just nominated last week by President Barack Obama to the position of assistant secretary for financial institutions at the U.S. Department of the Treasury has been confirmed to speak, and CUNA also has invited Zixta Martinez, associate director for external affairs at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

"This being my first GAC, I'm proud we've put together such a power-packed agenda for the nearly 5,000 credit union leaders who will be flooding to Washington for the credit union movement's premier conference," said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle.

Gerety and Martinez will join a list of speakers that include: Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal; legislator, governor and inaugural Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge; Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary for President George W. Bush; and Arianna Huffington, author, columnist and co-founder/editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post.

At least 10 senators and representatives are also confirmed to speak, and a number of others will make video addresses to the audience. Jason Furman, chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisors, and all three National Credit Union Administration board members will also address the credit union crowd.

Breakout sessions covering the top issues facing credit unions, such as the NCUA's risk-based capital proposal, tax reform, data breaches and regulatory burdens, will be moderated by CUNA staff and other credit union experts.

In addition to the speakers and sessions, there will be an exhibit hall featuring nearly 1,000 exhibitors from more than 200 companies that provide products and services to credit unions. And credit union visits to Capitol Hill to discuss top issues with federal lawmakers and their staffs remains a central strength of the CUNA GAC.

Consumer Protection Week aligns with CU model: Nussle

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WASHINGTON (3/2/15)--Credit unions welcome the designation of March 1-7 as National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) as a way to highlight resources available to help consumers manage their money, handle credit and debt, stay safe online and avoid identity theft, said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle.
"The idea behind NCP Week dovetails with what credit unions do every day for their members. We make reliable and affordable financial services and products available to all Americans," Nussle pointed out.
"Financial education is a key component to consumer protections in the financial arena--and it is a priority of the credit union movement," Nussle noted.
He pointed to such programs as CUNA's Googolplex , the youth financial education resource; Home & Family Finance Resource Center; Biz Kid$ , the Emmy Award-winning and credit union-funded public television series that teaches kids about money management; and free financial education and training for members as just a few of the options available to consumers thanks to credit unions.
The week's theme, he said, also underscores the need for CUNA-advocated improvements in merchant data security standards to keep consumers' personal information secure.

"If consumers are truly to be protected, merchants must be held to the same high data protection standards as are credit unions and other financial institutions," Nussle emphasized.