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Political prowess of CUNA noted by media

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WASHINGTON (10/18/10)--With midterm campaign season in full swing and candidates from both sides of the aisle reporting record fundraising tallies, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has been receiving attention of its own for its political activity. As reported by The Hill and later noted in the pages of The Politico, CUNA has come out in support of South Dakota House incumbent Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D) by financing a 30-second television ad. The ad hails Herseth Sandlin as an "independent leader" who opposed the Wall St. bailout, supports small businesses, and is not afraid to stand up to her own party. The most recent Rasmussen poll shows Republican opponent Kristi Noem with a slight 3 point lead over the incumbent Herseth Sandlin. CUNA has also backed Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in his reelection attempt against Sharon Angle. Former House Republican Whip and current Missouri Senate candidate, Rep. Roy Blunt (R), and Colorado-based Republican House candidate Cory Gardner have also received support. CUNA's backing of these candidates was noted in opensecrets.org's Oct. 8 listing of top independent expenditures. Oregon-based Democratic House incumbent Kurt Schrader has also received CUNA backing during his reelection attempt. “These are just some of the record 13 races this election cycle in which CUNA has undertaken direct voter communications on behalf of credit union candidates," CUNA Vice President of Political Affairs Trey Hawkins said. The Herseth Sandlin, Reid, Blunt, Gardner and Schrader efforts are independent expenditures financed by CULAC, CUNA's federal political action committee, and by law cannot be coordinated with the candidates or their campaigns. CUNA, leagues and credit unions are also engaged in five partisan communications campaigns, in which leagues and credit unions can coordinate with the candidates and send political mailings to credit union members. Partisan communications campaigns for the general election include efforts for incubment Reps. Paul Kanjorski (D-Penn.), Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), and Larry Kissell (D-N.C.); open seat candidate Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.), and Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), who is challenging incumbent Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (D). A total of 16 credit unions in five states are participating in these efforts. CUNA, leagues and credit unions also engaged in three primary campaigns earlier this year, including the successful nomination of Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) in his Republican primary. These CUNA-backed candidates "have a long history of supporting credit unions," CUNA Senior Vice President of Political Affairs Richard Gose said. "While we can't be a player in every race, we will support the candidates that have supported credit unions in the past. The races we do take part in are ones where we have had clear support from the candidates," he added.

Inside Washington (10/15/2010)

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* WASHINGTON (10/18/10)--The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has issued updated procedures for how troubled banks can get approval to making "golden-parachute" payments, said American Banker (Oct.15). Existing rules do not allow a bank with a 4 or 5 CAMEL rating to make such payments to parties terminating their affiliation. But the bank can apply for an exemption under three scenarios: when regulators concur a payment is allowed, the employee was brought in late to try and save the institution, or an employee is terminated following an open-bank merger. As an increasing number of troubled institutions have sought approval, the new FDIC issued guidance aims to better outline the application process … * WASHINGTON (10/18/10)--The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is facing obstacles as it figures out how it will supervise the estimated 71,000 money transmitters, prepaid card issuers, check cashers, payday lenders, financial companies and other nondepositories that could fall under the CFPB’s jurisdiction, said American Banker (Oct. 15). CFPB’s top priority has been hiring relevant staff and beginning coordination with state officials. While the Dodd-Frank law mentions mortgage lenders and a few institutions the bureau should cover, the agency may expand that authority when it outlines the extent of its authority in a rule due by July 21, 2012. “To a large extent it is going to come down to who they define as covered persons,” said Bill Himpler, executive vice president for federal affairs at the American Financial Services Association. “They’re going to probably look at terms of their first bite at the apple where they can show the most progress, so I would venture to guess they would start with the biggest players” … * WASHINGTON (10/18/10)--S. Denise Hendricks has been appointed director of Equal Opportunity Programs at the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). Hendricks will oversee three programs designed to enhance affirmative employment plans in such areas as recruitment, employment, training, retention and awareness, and foster a multi-cultural diverse workforce. Hendricks joins NCUA after a 15-year stint with the Department of Defense, most recently as the deputy assistant director of Equal Employment Opportunity Programs Division at Washington Headquarters Services …

DCUC CEO Arteaga named to Presidents fin lit council

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WASHINGTON (10/18/10)--Defense Credit Union Council (DCUC) President/CEO Roland "Arty" Arteaga last week was named as one of twelve members of President Barack Obama’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability. The advisory council will advise the President on ways to promote and enhance overall financial literacy, financial education efforts, and the general understanding of how to effectively use financial products. In a release, Obama said that the council would “greatly serve the American people as they work to improve financial literacy and promote services that will benefit consumers.” “I look forward to their sound advice on these issues as we work together in the months and years ahead,” Obama added. Arteaga, who has led the DCUC since early 2000, serves as the primary liaison between the Pentagon and military post-based credit unions. Arteaga also served with the U.S. Army from 1971 until 1999.

FinCEN seeks comment on SAR database changes

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WASHINGTON (10/18/10)--The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) on Friday said it is accepting public comment on its pending Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) database redesign. Specifically, FinCEN is seeking comment on its proposed list of data fields within the Database that will support Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) filings by financial institutions required to file such reports under the BSA. FinCEN said that it is not proposing “any new regulatory requirements nor changes to the requirements related to suspicious activity reporting, ” but is seeking “input on technical matters” as the agency transitions “from a system originally designed for collecting paper forms to a modernized IT environment for electronic reporting.” The new database “will accept XML-based dynamic, state-of-the-art reports,” and few changes to the existing batch and computer-to-computer filing processes will be made, FinCEN said. For the FinCEN release, use the resource link.

Fannie Mae to provide cost benefits to CUNA members

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WASHINGTON (10/18/10)--Credit Union National Association (CUNA) member credit unions that are active in the secondary mortgage market will now be eligible for “significant cost benefits and price breaks” via Fannie Mae, CUNA announced on Thursday. CUNA, CUNA Strategic Services (CSS) and Fannie Mae this week completed work on an affinity program that will give CUNA member credit unions that service or sell their mortgage loans access to innovative mortgage loan products and features and special member pricing in the secondary market for whole loan sales to Fannie Mae. Member credit unions will also be offered discounted licensing and loan submission fees for Fannie Mae’s Desktop Underwriter® software, discounts on training through Fannie Mae’s Housing Finance Institute™, and access to newsletters, announcements and webinars. The agreement, which Cheney said would provide a “terrific, cost-saving opportunity” to CUNA member credit unions that use the secondary market. For credit unions that are not approved Fannie Mae seller/servicers, the “Path to Approval Toolkit” is available to help determine if you qualify to sell loans directly to Fannie Mae.

CSBS seeks comments on federal registry fees

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WASHINGTON (10/18/10)--The Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) is seeking comments on its proposed fees for the National Mortgage Licensing System & Registry (NMLS). The deadline for submitting comments is November 12. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and the federal banking agencies have contracted with the CSBS’s State Regulatory Registry to modify the NMLS to accommodate registrations by credit unions and banks as required by the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act (SAFE Act). The SAFE Act will require credit union “mortgage loan originators” (MLO) and their employing institutions to register with the NMLS. The registry is expected to be available in January 2011. “The NMLS website adds additional information every week, so we hope to see the actual registration procedures loaded some time in November,” said Valerie Moss, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) director of compliance information. CUNA encourages credit unions to comment of the following proposed fees: Registered MLO fees:
* Initial federal registration:
* $30 if completed between January 1 and June 30; * $60 if completed between July 1 and December 1
* Annual renewal fee: $30 * Change in employment processing fee: $30 * Criminal background check:
* Electronic fingerprints: $39 * Paper fingerprints: $49
Employing Institution Fees:
* Initial institution filing: $100 * Annual institution renewal: $100 * Two-factor authentication annual subscription: $70
Please send your comments to CUNA via e-mail at cucomply@cuna.com or to the CSBS at comments@stateregulatoryregistry.org by Nov. 12. Letters may also be submitted by postal mail to the CSBS address listed at the end of the proposal. For more information on the SAFE Act, visit CUNA’s compliance Web page at www.cuna.com and stay tuned for CUNA’s Dec. 9 SAFE Act Webinar with guest speakers from CSBS and NCUA. Details will be available on the CUNA training Web page by the end of the week.