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NCUA announces annual reg review focus

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (1/24/13)--The National Credit Union Administration has released its annual list of rules and regulations that will come under review this year.  Among them: member business loans, fair credit reporting, management official interlocks, and Central Liquidity Facility rules.

Included on the full 2013 review list:
  • 711 Management Official Interlocks;
  • 712 Credit Union Service Organizations;
  • 713 Fidelity Bond and Insurance Coverage for Federal Credit Unions;
  • 714 Leasing;
  • 715 Supervisory Committee Audits and Verifications;
  • 716 Privacy of Consumer Financial Information;
  • 717 Fair Credit Reporting;
  • 721 Incidental Powers;
  • 722 Appraisals;
  • 723 Member Business Loans;
  • 724 Trustees and Custodians of Certain Tax-Advantaged Savings Plans;
  • 725 National Credit Union Administration Central Liquidity Facility;
  • 740 Accuracy of Advertising and Notice of Insured Status;
  • 741 Requirements for Insurance;
  • 745 Share Insurance and Appendix; and 
  • 747 Administrative Actions, Adjudicative Hearings, Rules of Practice
  • and Procedure, and Investigations.
The NCUA reviews all of its rules every three years, scheduling a look at about one-third of its rules each year on a  rotating basis. The agency says its goal is to ensure that all regulations are clearly articulated and easily understood, a goal that the Credit Union National Associatoin endorses.

Comments on the clarity and content of the regulations are encouraged, the agency added. The NCUA will accept comments on these items until Aug.5. CUNA Regulatory Advocacy will be working with CUNA subcommittees, leagues, and the CUNA Councils to review the rules and file comments with the agency.  

Comments may be e-mailed to OGCMAIL@NCUA.GOV or mailed to Regulatory Review 2013, Office of General Counsel, National Credit Union Administration, 1775 Duke Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314-3428. Please include the words "Regulatory Review 2013" in the subject line.

OSCUI targets $95M for 2013-2014 CDRLF

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (1/24/13)--The National Credit Union Administration expects to make up to $9.5 million in funds available in the 2013-2014 round of the Community Development Revolving Loan Fund (CDRLF) Loan Program, the agency said on Wednesday.

The NCUA's Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives (OSCUI) administers the CDRLF. Congress has not made an appropriation to the OSCUI Loan Program for Fiscal Years 2013-2014, the NCUA noted. Money for the program could be derived from appropriated and earned funds, the agency said.

The agency offered $11 million in low-rate loans through the 2012 round of the program. The program provides loans to credit unions serving predominantly low-income members. It also serves as a source of funding to help low-income designated credit unions (LICUs) respond to emergencies arising in their communities.

The NCUA began accepting loan applications for this round on Jan. 1, and applications will be accepted until Dec. 31, 2013. However, the agency said loan program funds may be exhausted before this deadline is reached.

The NCUA expects that most of the loans provided under this NOFO will be for $300,000 or less, as "loans of this size will help maximize allocation of this limited resource among many credit unions." The agency said it will also consider loan requests for more than $300,000 "from applicants that demonstrate the need and capability to effectively deploy such funding; and have a high probability of realizing significant impact, while maintaining financial and operational soundness."

These applications will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, the NCUA said.

For more on the loan program, use the resource link.

A closer look: CUNA 2013 communications goal, lead folks to CUs as primary FI partner

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WASHINGTON (1/24/13)--The Credit Union National Association's communications strategy for 2013 will be all about encouraging more Americans to choose credit unions as their best financial partner.

CUNA communications will support this strategy by providing key credit union information and CUNA insight to credit unions, their members and the general public.

The consumer-oriented website was developed to share the value of credit union membership and to help potential credit union members find a new credit union to join. That site saw record interest in 2012, receiving nearly 385,000 visits in that year alone.

While those numbers are solid, CUNA is working to sustain--and improve--those numbers in 2013, CUNA Executive Vice President of Strategic Communications and Engagement Paul Gentile said.

The site will be improved with new search optimization and other tools to help users better learn about their credit union options, and find other key information. CUNA will also produce social media tags and banner ads to help state credit union leagues spread the word about, and, in turn, inform the public about credit unions.

"These site improvements will help CUNA and credit unions prepare themselves for the next time a huge event like Bank Transfer Day happens," Gentile said.

Mark Wolff, CUNA senior vice president of communications, added that CUNA will also continue its aggressive outreach to the national media. "Our goal is to generate as much coverage as we can of the value credit unions provide consumers," Wolff said.

Credit union-centric events both large and small will receive up-to-the-minute coverage in News Now, biweekly roundups and in-depth coverage in the members-only publication Credit Union NewsWatch e-newsletter. CUNA communications will also reach out to credit unions through direct email communications, video messages, working the credit union trade press, providing an informative Annual Report, and more.

Credit union CEOs in 2013 will also have a new way to keep informed: Weekly editions of The Cheney Report, which was first released in early January. The Cheney Report delivers CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney's latest thoughts on three to four key events and policy developments each Friday, giving readers a CEO-to-CEO perspective on each week's major developments. "The report will also provide a valuable window into CUNA's actions on behalf of member credit unions, and reinforce the value of CUNA membership," Gentile said.

News Now is featuring an in-depth look at each area of CUNA's 2013 priorities. This article is the fourth in that series. The first unveiled CUNA's legislative priorities.

Use the resource links below to read more about CUNA's 2013 action agenda, legislative priorities, regulatory advocacy strategy, and state governmental affairs agenda.

Matz on CUbroadcast: CU progress, 2013 priorities

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (1/24/13)--2012 was a positive year for the credit union system; it started slow and improved over the 12 months, National Credit Union Administration Chairman Debbie Matz declared in a new interview.

"When you look back at where (credit unions) were at the beginning of the year and where they wound up at the end of the year, it really shows a lot of improvement and a lot of hard work on their part and ours," Matz said.

Matz also shared an outlook for 2013.

The NCUA chairman said the agency plans to revisit proposed changes to the rural district definition at its next board meeting and will also finalize a rule on Treasury Inflation Protected Securities--or TIPS--in the near future. Matz also said the NCUA hopes to keep Temporary Corporate Credit Union Stabilization Fund assessments in the single digits and to not charge a National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund in 2013.

The NCUA's ongoing lawsuits against Wall Street firms and agency regulatory modernization efforts are also addressed in the video.

For more, use the resource link.

NCUA webinar offers LICU operating tips

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (1/24/13)--Low-income credit unions (LICUs) got some tips on how they can improve their own operations and increase member service during a Wednesday National Credit Union Administration webinar.

The NCUA in 2012 informed 1,003 federal credit unions of their eligibility to become low-income credit unions (LICUs), and 676 have accepted. As a group, the newly designated LICUs serve more than 7.7 million members and manage more than $66 billion in combined assets. (NCUA Photo)
NCUA Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives Economic Development Specialist Vanessa Lowe noted that an estimated 20% of Americans are considered unbanked or underbanked, and may be using alternative financial service providers such as check cashing firms.

She encouraged LICUs to find ways to reach these potential credit union members. Credit unions can do a better job than alternative financial services providers that sometimes use predatory tactics against these unbanked individuals, she said. Lowe said LICUs could examine their membership composition and the types of products they offer to identify opportunities to strengthen their own services and attract and better serve potential members.

Lowe also noted the resources LICUs can access through REAL Solutions and other National Credit Union Foundation programs.

The webinar also addressed the general benefits of the LICU designation, which include the ability to accept supplemental capital and an exemption from the member business lending (MBL) cap under certain circumstances. LICU-designated credit unions are also eligible for Community Development Revolving Loan Fund grants and low-interest loans and may accept deposits from non-members.

NCUA staff said they are working on ways to help state chartered credit unions qualify for LICU designations.

NCUA Office of Consumer Protection Consumer Access Analyst Elliot Weiss noted that LICUs may use supplemental capital to shore up their net worth, and said a section of the NCUA's incidental powers regulation may allow credit unions to offer check cashing and other services to non-members. Credit unions do not have to offer services to nonmembers, but the resources are out there if they choose to do so, he said.

However, Weiss told credit unions to be careful about which products they offer and whom they offer those products to. LICU benefits offer advantages, but can also lead to unforeseen losses if they are not properly managed, he said. These benefits can help a credit union's business strategy, but should not be a credit union's only business strategy, Weiss noted.

The webinar will be posted on the NCUA's website in the coming weeks, and questions that were not addressed during the webinar will also be posted.