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CFPB releases supervision examination guidance

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WASHINGTON (10/14/11)--The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on Thursday released a CFPB Supervision and Examination Manual to aid the agency’s examiners as they oversee financial services firms. The CFPB in a release said the manual will help its examiners “determine if providers of consumer financial products and services are complying with consumer protection laws” and whether or not those providers “have adequate policies and procedures in place to comply with those laws.” The manual incorporates the existing examination procedures of many other financial agencies, covers aspects of the supervision and examination process, and includes general and specific examination procedures, the agency said. The CFPB has also added examination report templates to the manual. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) noted the CFPB has supervision, examination and enforcement authority over federally-insured credit unions with total assets over $10 billion. Although the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and various state regulators will retain examination and enforcement authority over federal credit unions with $10 billion or less in assets, the CFPB has the right to accompany NCUA examiners on some examinations, to request examination reports, and to refer suspected credit union issues to the agency, CUNA added. The CFPB manual also contains guidelines to help examiners assess mortgage servicers’ policies and procedures and their compliance with applicable laws. The CFPB said it would begin its examinations later this year. For a CFPB blog post on the examination manual, use the resource link.

MBL hearing one important step toward cap lift CUNA

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WASHINGTON (10/14/11)Wednesdays House Financial Services subcommittee on financial institutions and consumer credit hearing on credit union member business lending was an important step in the push for legislation to increase the cap, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Executive Vice President for Government Affairs John Magill said. Wednesdays hearing focused on H.R. 1418, the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act, which would increase the MBL cap to 27.5% of assets. The cap currently stands at 12.25% of assets. National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Chairman Debbie Matz and Jeff York, president/CEO of CoastHills FCU, Lompoc, Calif., testifying on behalf of the Credit Union National Association, were among Wednesdays witnesses. (See related Oct. 13 story: CUNA testifies as House lawmakers study MBL benefits) In the pursuit of a statutory correction of the current cap on MBLs, there are certain boxes that must be checked for a bill to move ahead, Magill said, adding that the House hearing on H.R. 1418 was a big box to check. However, he adds, rather than taking any pressure off of credit union advocates, the hearing increases the need for credit union advocacy for the MBL cap lift measure. Republicans and Democrats continue to struggle to find common legislative ground, and this overall lack of congressional consensus means congressional outreach is more important than ever, Magill said, adding that CUNA continues to search for the right legislative vehicle to take the MBL bill through both houses of Congress. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), a longtime credit union supporter and co-sponsor of H.R. 1418, said during the hearing that the MBL cap legislation may be the only thing [the] committee passes into law that actually creates jobs, and noted that it is the only pro-jobs bill that has substantial numbers of both Republicans and Democrats supporting it. He added he has not met a single small business owner in his district that has told him not to allow credit unions to make more business loans. H.R. 1418 has 88 cosponsors. A similar Senate bill, S. 509, was introduced earlier this year by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and has 20 cosponsors. CUNA has estimated that lifting the MBL cap would have a number of beneficial effects on the ailing economy, including infusing $13 billion in new credit for small businesses and adding 140,000 new jobs within the first year of enactment--all at no cost to the American taxpayer. To encourage your House members and senators to support H.R. 1418 and S. 509, use the resource link.

CUNAs Cheney named by iThe Hilli as top lobbyist

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WASHINGTON (10/14/11)--D.C.-based political publication The Hill has named Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney as a top nonprofit lobbyist for his positive work for credit unions during the past year. Cheney said the recognition “is a reflection of the significant efforts that CUNA, the leagues and credit unions put forth on behalf of the entire movement over the past year.” Fights over the new debit card interchange fee cap, increased member business lending for credit unions, and other legislative issues have also kept Cheney and CUNA staff busy throughout 2011. The CUNA CEO was one of 64 named to The Hill’s 2011 list. Cheney was also named as one of the Top Association CEOs of 2011 when CEO Update's list of influential executives was released earlier this year. That publication noted that Cheney has been credited by allies and adversaries alike "for nearly scoring a major upset in the debit-card swipe fee battle." CEO Update also recognized CUNA Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs Ryan Donovan’s work on behalf of credit unions, naming him as one of 2011's top lobbyists. For the full story from The Hill, use the resource link.

NCUA report CU system stability improved in 2010

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (10/14/11)—Credit unions “continued to respond to many economic hurdles, but moved significantly further along the road to improved financial stability” in 2010, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) said in its 2010 annual report. The report, entitled Resilience and the Road Ahead, serves as the NCUA's official report to the President and Congress, and covers the NCUA and credit union operations. The report also tabulates 10 years of financial trends for credit unions and the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, the NCUA said in a release. The NCUA added that the report also carries forward the complete audited financial statements of all funds managed by the agency. Overall, the agency said the credit union industry “demonstrated its resilience” during 2010, and “had achieved higher net income, greater return(s) on assets, more efficient operations,” and reduced loan delinquencies and charge-offs by the end of that year. Total assets held in credit unions increased to $914.5 billion and total shares and deposits increased to $786.5 billion during 2010, the NCUA said. The total number of federal credit unions decreased to 4,589 in 2010, down from 2009’s total of 4,714. However, the number of federal credit union members increased by nearly 500,000 in 2010, with membership totaling 50,081,400 at the end of the year. Membership at state-chartered, federally insured credit unions also showed a modest increase during 2010, the agency said. The total number of credit union members stood at 90.5 million at the end of the year, according to the NCUA. The agency noted that it further strengthened the credit union system in 2010 by working toward the resolution of the corporate credit union crisis, overseeing the implementation of the Temporary Corporate Credit Union Stabilization Fund, extending the Temporary Corporate Credit Union Share Guarantee Program, establishing bridge corporate credit unions, and approving new safety and soundness standards for corporates. For the full release, use the resource link.

Inside Washington (10/13/2011)

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* WASHINGTON (10/14/11)--The Obama administration will introduce a plan to revise the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) within the next two weeks, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan told mortgage bankers Wednesday at their annual convention in Chicago. HARP is part of the administration’s strategy to help homeowners avoid foreclosure, stabilize the country’s housing market, and improve the nation’s economy. But it has helped fewer than a million homeowners refinance. “We need to pick up the pace,” Donovan said. The Obama administration is engaged in “intensive discussions” with the Federal Housing Finance Agency, lenders, mortgage insurers, regulators and investors to lower barriers to refinancing and increase the program’s reach, Donovan said … * WASHINGTON (10/14/11)--Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) representatives and community bankers urged lawmakers Wednesday to omit FHLBs from any overhaul of the housing finance system (American Banker Oct. 13). The banks maintain they have survived the financial crisis and remain a critical source of liquidity for other financial institutions. The home loan bank system works and its structure does not need to be changed, said Lee Gibson, chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas. As much as 50% of short-term agricultural production loans are funded through the Federal Home Loan Banks, added Timothy Zimmerman, president of Standard Bank in Monroeville, Pa., who said the loss of such low-cost funding would present a challenge for community banks. The Obama administration has not offered a detailed proposal for the future of the housing government-sponsored enterprises, but it has suggested the Home Loan Banks should be part of any revision …