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Chartway stays with CUNA, opens 'one trade group' discussion

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VIRGINIA BEACH (1/30/13)--The $1.9 billion Chartway FCU based here announced that it is maintaining its membership in the Credit Union National Association and that for the sake of "clarity, consistency and on-point messaging," the credit union system would be better served to be represented by one trade association.

"This is particularly important as it relates to the significant legislative and regulatory opportunities and challenges currently facing the industry," Chartway said in a statement.

Ron Burniske, president/CEO of the 194,885-member Chartway, said that Chartway evaluated both CUNA and the National Association of Federal Credit Unions during the credit union's recent strategic planning process. Based on its value proposition, Chartway decided to align with CUNA.

Burniske acknowledged that both CUNA and NAFCU demonstrate "exceptional work," but "only one trade association is necessary to effectively represent the credit union industry."

Chartway hopes that its relationship with a single trade association will allow more focus to effectively be placed on items that are relative to credit unions of all sizes. Its intention is to create a "proactive, concise single voice that will best represent the industry."

Further, Chartway hopes its decision will "inspire conversation among other credit unions on unifying trade associations to benefit credit unions--which would ultimately be best for credit unions and their members."

CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney, responding to the Chartway announcement, said, "We appreciate the confidence that Chartway has in CUNA and the leagues, and we are proud to be their advocates."

Cheney added, "Trade association membership is an important decision for any credit union. We believe that the CUNA/League system has the vision, resources and commitment to best represent their interests on both the national and state level."

Chartway has branch locations in Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah and Virginia and also serves its members through about 4,000 shared-service locations nationwide.

CFPB should revisit 100 transfers-per-year exemption: CUNA

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WASHINGTON (1/30/13)--Noting that "no issue regarding international remittance transfers is more important to credit unions than the exemption level," Credit Union National Association Deputy General Counsel Mary Dunn urged the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to reconsider the 100 transfer exemption level in a comment letter sent to the agency this week.

Under the final remittance rule published last February, remittance transfer providers will be required to provide prepayment and receipt disclosures to the consumer sender that include the exchange rate, certain fees and taxes associated with a transfer, and the amount of money that will be received on the other end of the transfer. Remittance transfer providers will also be required to investigate disputes and correct errors.

The CFPB has provided a safe harbor exemption from the rule for remittance providers that transact 100 or fewer remittances per year. 

Dunn in the comment letter said the CFPB's final remittance rule "should differentiate between entities that are profiting as a result of offering remittance transfers as a business line or a product, as opposed to credit unions that offer international remittance transfers as a service to their members who prefer to conduct their financial business with their credit union." She noted that a number of credit unions lose money, or only charge enough money to cover the costs of providing remittance transfers.

The CUNA comment letter also encouraged the agency to use its exemption authority to shield as many credit unions as possible from the terms of the remittance regulations, and to delay the compliance date for the regulations by at least 12 months. "This approach will help facilitate compliance for credit unions, particularly those that work with corporate credit unions, vendors and other third-parties, while minimizing regulatory burdens on all credit unions," Dunn wrote. The letter also commended the CFPB's decision to delay the effective date of pending remittance transfer regulations.

The agency could also ease the regulatory burden faced by credit unions and other financial institutions by compiling and maintaining its own central database of foreign taxes and recipient institution fees. The agency has proposed requiring each remittance provider to find and maintain this information independently. This approach would prove "incredibly burdensome and costly" for credit unions and other institutions. A single, CFPB-maintained database would benefit credit unions and consumers alike, CUNA said.

The CUNA comment letter also addressed:

  • Liability issues;
  • Fees; and
  • Foreign tax issues.
For the full comment letter, use the resource link.

Operating fee invoices out in March

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (1/30/13)--Federal credit union operating fees is the topic of the National Credit Union Administration's most recent Letter to Federal Credit Union (13-FCU-01); the letter reminds of the agency's action in November that increased the fee for credit unions with more than $1 million by 0.24% and eliminated the fees for those with assets less than or equal to $1 million.

Included with the letter is an NCUA chart intended to help a federal credit union calculate the exact dollar amount of its operating fee. The chart also includes the NCUA web link to the online calculator. The letter also provides insight into the calculation method.

The letter states that federal credit unions with over $1 million in assets will be sent an invoice for the operating fees in March. The operating fee will be based on assets reported Dec. 31, 2012. At the same time, all federally insured credit unions will receive notice of any amount needed to adjust their National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund capitalization deposit to 1% of insured shares.

The NCUA will combine the operating fee and capitalization deposit adjustment into a single payment. That payment is due April 2013, the letter notes.  The agency adds that for federal credit unions signed up to pay via Pay.Gov, no further action is required; payment will occur by April 30.

All others must send payment according to the instructions included with the invoice.

Questions regarding details of the letter should be directed to the NCUA's Office of the Chief Financial Officer at ocfomail@ncua.gov.

Still time to sign up for Matz, Cordray Feb 5 webinar

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (1/30/13)--Want to pose your most pressing credit union questions to National Credit Union Administration Chairman Debbie Matz and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray? Participants have just under a week to sign up for a joint, Feb. 5 webinar.

The webinar will feature a broad discussion of the changing environment for financial regulation and consumer protection issues, including the CFPB's recently finalized regulations, proposed rules, and enforcement efforts.

Webinar participants will be able to type in questions about any topic related to the credit union industry or the CFPB during the webinar. They also can submit advance questions at WebinarQuestions@ncua.gov. The subject line of the email should read, "NCUA-CFPB Town Hall."

Use the resource link below to register for the 3 p.m. (ET) webinar.

Coming soon to the GAC: DNC Chair Wasserman Schultz to speak

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WASHINGTON (1/30/13)--Democratic National Committee Chairman and credit union supporter Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) has added her name to the lineup of 2013 Credit Union National Association Governmental Affairs Conference speakers.

Wasserman Schultz, who has served in the U.S. House since 2005, noted the "key role" that credit unions played in helping the American economy get back up and running, and praised credit unions for filling the lending gap left open by many banks in a 2011 GAC appearance. She also said credit unions must be able to provide the credit that small businesses so desperately need.

This year, she will speak during the morning general session on Feb. 26.

Also on the GAC speaking schedule: Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), credit union champions Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) are also slated to speak at the 2013 GAC. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), House Financial Services Committee senior member Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) and Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.).

CUNA's 2013 GAC will take place Feb. 24-28 at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. This year's GAC theme, "Powerful Cause, Positive Effect," reflects the credit union commitment to the 95 million working Americans who rely on credit unions every day.

For more information, follow the @CUNAverse twitter hashtag #CUNAGAC. Use the resource link to register for the GAC.