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Inside Washington (10/15/2008)

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* WASHINGTON (10/16/08)--Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) announced that he intends to incorporate homeownership preservation, anti-predatory lending practices, credit card and bankruptcy reform into a legislative package to help the economy. In a statement on his website, Dodd said he supports the Bush Administration’s plan to use the authority granted by the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act passed last month by Congress. The legislation expands the options federal agencies can use to intervene in the economy, including injecting liquidity into the nation’s banks. Dodd also met with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to discuss the plan’s details ... * WASHINGTON (10/16/08)--The version of Basel II capital rules finalized this year may prevent competitive inequities that could hurt domestic banks, according to a Government Accountability Office report (American Banker Oct. 15). The report also said regulators have not yet addressed “areas of uncertainty” that could lead to competitive implications. Though the rule allows core banks to apply for exemptions, the criteria for the exemptions is not defined. Regulators need to present more details about what they will look at in a Basel II study of effects, the report added ....

Annual NCUA budget briefing Oct. 30

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (10/16/08)—Credit unions and the general public are invited by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) on Oct. 30 to offer oral or written statements on the agency’s proposed 2009 budget. The NCUA will hold its eighth annual Budget Briefing and Public Forum on that date. The forum provides the opportunity for credit unions to engage with NCUA staff in the formulation of the agency's budget. NCUA Chairman Michael Fryzel, announcing the forum date, encouraged credit unions to take the opportunity of the public session to collaborate with NCUA staff in finalizing the 2009 operating budget. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) plans to present its views. The 2009 budget is likely to be unveiled by the agency next month. At last year’s briefing, the NCUA proposed a $156.5 million 2008 operating budget, which was 2.97% greater than 2007 spending. Participants who wish to present oral statements at the 10 a.m. open briefing should contact the secretary of the NCUA Board to register. Each registered participant will be allotted 10 minutes to present their statement. Requests to participate must be received by October 23. Due to time restraints, NCUA reserves the right to select witnesses; however, the agency said it will make every effort to accommodate all requests and ensure a broad range of views. Participants submitting written comments must file a “Budget Briefing and Public Forum – Comment” by November 7 to be considered. Mail comments and participation requests to Mary Rupp, Secretary of the Board, National Credit Union Administration, 1775 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314, fax 703-518-6319, or email regcomments@ncua.gov.

CUNA urges CU parity on non-interest accounts

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WASHINGTON (10/16/08)--Federally insured credit unions will be competitively disadvantaged unless federal regulators move quickly to provide full share insurance coverage for non-interest bearing transaction accounts, wrote Dan Mica, president/CEO of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Wednesday. In letters to each member of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) board, Mica recalled the administration’s action Tuesday announcing a program for insured banks and thrifts that includes the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s guarantee for all funds in such an account. Under the program, for the first thirty days all insured banks and thrifts would be covered. After that time, the accounts at institutions that do not opt out and thus agree to a 10-basis point insurance assessment will be covered. Mica noted the agency staff’s own informal estimates that a number of credit unions across the country may offer such accounts. “In our view, NCUA has sufficient legal authority to establish a similar program to permit any federally insured credit union to participate,” the CUNA leader wrote. Mica added, “Failure by NCUA to address this issue for credit unions could undermine credit unions’ hard-won success in serving small businesses and others in their communities.”

Underserved rule off todays NCUA agenda

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WASHINGTON (10/15/08)--The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Board has removed from today's open Board meeting agenda proposed clarifications to its "underserved areas" rule. The NCUA last summer proposed to clarify the procedure for establishing that an "undeserved area" qualifies as a local community; address the application of economic distress criteria; and clarify requirements for showing an area has "significant unmet needs," including the use of data from NCUA and other agencies to analyze whether an area is "undeserved by other depository institutions." The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) strongly opposes the agency's proposed action, finding the plan inconsistent with the Federal Credit Union Act and, overall, very poor public policy that would limit, rather than enhance, service to underserved areas. An NCUA spokesman said the proposal was taken off today's agenda because it is still under consideration; it has not yet been rescheduled for action. Today's agenda will include:
* A quarterly report on the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund; * A proposal that would set requirements for the use of the official insurance sign; and * A plan that would affect three categories of incidental powers: correspondent services; operational programs; and finder activities. The NCUA will decide whether to approve additional illustrations of permissible activities within each of these categories.