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Washington

Rep. Capito joins GAC Lineup

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WASHINGTON (1/19/11)--Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) is the latest member of Congress who will speak at the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) 2011 Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) this February. Capito late last year was named chair of the House financial institutions and consumer credit subcommittee, which will cover financial institutions, federal deposit insurance, and safety and soundness. Capito, who has served in Congress since 2001, has backed regulatory relief for credit unions and has pledged to support the credit union tax exemption. She was backed by the Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC) during her successful 2010 reelection campaign. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), and Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) are currently slated to speak at the GAC. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau architect Elizabeth Warren and co-authors of The New York Times No. 1 best-seller "Game Change" Mark Halperin and John Heilemann are also scheduled to address GAC attendees. The GAC will also feature keynote speeches from actor and Children's Miracle Network Hospitals co-founder John Schneider and "Miracle on the Hudson" pilot Captain Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III. To register for the GAC, use the resource link.

CUNA plans property valuation audio conference

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WASHINGTON (1/19/11)—Changes to Truth in Lending Act (TILA) requirements addressing valuations of properties that are secured by a borrower’s principal dwelling will be covered during a Feb.15 Credit Union National Association (CUNA) audio conference. The TILA changes, which were proposed as part of the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform package of 2010, will seek to ensure that appraisers receive customary and reasonable payments for their services, and will prohibit appraiser coercion. The rule will also prevent appraisers that were hired by lenders from having financial or other interests in the properties or credit transactions, and will prohibit appraisers from materially misrepresenting the value of a consumer's home. The new TILA requirements will come into effect on April 1 and will replace the current Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC). The HVCC, which became law in May of 2009, allows lenders, not real estate agents and brokers, to order home appraisals, a move that aims to reduce conflicts of interest in home appraisals while also protecting the independence of the people who conduct them. During the conference, Fannie Mae’s requirements for loans saleable on the secondary market will be discussed. The conference will also answer whether credit unions should hire an independent appraisal management company. Potentially differing regulatory requirements and possible exemptions from the TILA changes will also be discussed during the conference. CUNA Certified Credit Union Compliance Expert (CUCE) and president of Compliance Plus Inc. Mary-Lou Heighes will lead the discussion. To register for the conference, use the resource link.

Inside Washington (01/18/2011)

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* WASHINGTON (1/19/11)--Observers believe the Obama administration will offer guiding principles rather than a concrete restructuring plan for the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (American Banker Jan. 18). That belief is based on the Treasury Department’s continued silence on any proposal and the fact that the administration has twice postponed delivery of a plan for the government-sponsored enterprises. The deadline for release of the proposal is Jan. 31. Industry observers are split on whether a guiding-principle approach makes sense. Some say because Fannie and Freddie have been in conservatorship for two years, a concrete plan is needed. Also, any further delay would give Republication critics of the administration more ammunition. On the other hand, Republicans would rather see Fannie and Freddie abolished altogether than endorse any plan that preserves a government guarantee. For that reason, a plan that offers alternatives for preserving Freddie and Frannie would be a wise approach, some observers said … * WASHINGTON (1/19/11)--The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to work on a joint initiative, in coordination with FHFA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), to consider alternatives for future mortgage servicing structures and servicing compensation for their single-family mortgage loans. Currently, a servicer’s compensation is generally based on a minimum servicing fee that is part of the mortgage rate, which decreases the flexibility necessary for optimal servicing of non-performing loans from both the borrowers’ and guarantors’ perspectives. The joint initiative will consider alternatives to the traditional servicing compensation structure. The goals are to improve service for borrowers, reduce financial risk to servicers, and provide flexibility for guarantors to better manage non-performing loans, while promoting continued liquidity in the to be announced mortgage securities market. Alternatives for consideration may include a fee for service compensation structure for non-performing loans and reducing or eliminating the minimum mortgage servicing fee for performing loans, or other structures … * WASHINGTON (1/19/11)--Terry Jorde, recently retired president/CEO of CountryBank USA, Cando, N.D., has been named the chief of staff for the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), effective April 1 (American Banker Jan. 18). She was chair of the ICBA in 2006, and has been on its executive committee for the past seven years … * WASHINGTON (1/19/11)--Amy Friend, chief counsel to the Senate Banking Committee for the past three years under its former chairman, Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), has joined Promontory Financial Group (American Banker Jan. 18). Friend helped write the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act. Prior to serving on the Banking Committee, Friend worked for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, where she was assistant chief counsel … * WASHINGTON (1/19/11)--The law firm Arent Fox LLC, Washington, D.C., has hired former senators Bob Bennett (R-Utah) and Byron Dorgan (D-N.C.). Bennett, who formerly served on the Banking Committee, was a Senate member since 1992. He lost in the 2010 election. Dorgan, who retired after the Senate’s last term, served 12 years in the House of Representatives and 18 years in the Senate … * WASHINGTON (1/19/11)--A 2010 annual report has been released by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Within its pages, FinCEN noted a broadened and enhanced effort to partner with U.S. government agencies to combat home loan modification and foreclosure scams, and home equity conversion mortgage (reverse mortgage) scams that generally target the elderly. Also notable, FinCEN reported that fiscal year 2010 witnessed the largest ever civil money penalty that FinCEN has imposed: $110 million against Wachovia Bank, “which previously was one of the largest and most sophisticated banks in the world.” The annual report said, “A coordinated effort by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division , and FinCEN determined, among other things, that Wachovia failed to effectively monitor for potential money laundering activity more than $420 billion in foreign financial transactions.”…