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Inside Washington (10/17/2011)

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* WASHINGTON (10/18/11)--The Federal Reserve Board on Monday released the final rule to implement the resolution plan requirement in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The final rule requires bank holding companies with assets of $50 billion or more and nonbank financial firms designated by the Financial Stability Oversight Council for supervision to annually submit resolution plans. Each plan will describe the company’s strategy for resolution in bankruptcy in case of financial distress. A resolution plan must include a strategic analysis of the plan’s components, specific actions the company proposes to take in resolution, and a description of the company’s organizational structure, material entities, interconnections and interdependencies, and management information systems. Under the final rule, companies will submit their initial resolution plans on a staggered basis. The first group of companies, those with $250 billion or more in non-bank assets, must submit their initial plans on or before July 1, 2012; the second group, those with $100 billion or more but less than $250 billion in total non-bank assets, must submit their initial plans on or before July 1, 2013; and the remaining companies, those with less than $100 billion in total non-bank assets, must submit their plans on or before Dec. 31, 2013 …

Corporates 2012 budget topics at Nov. 9 NCUA webinar

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (10/18/11)--The continuing corporate credit union system resolution, the status of the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, and the agency’s 2012 budget will be up for discussion during a Nov. 9 National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) online town hall. The hearing, which is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. (ET) on Nov. 9, will be open to “the entire credit union industry” and members of the media, the NCUA reported. NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz and other NCUA staff will take questions from attendees, and questions may be submitted ahead of time, the NCUA said. Matz said she remains committed “to providing transparency about NCUA initiatives and continuing an open dialog with credit union stakeholder,” and encouraged “credit union professionals and volunteers to participate in these important discussions.” The webinar will also cover the NCUA’s Regulatory Modernization Initiative. The town hall webinar is the third to be scheduled this year. The NCUA earlier this year held webinars on its voluntary Corporate Stabilization Fund assessment prepayment plan, troubled debt restructured (TDR) loans, and allowance for loan and lease loss-related exam issues and interagency supervisory policies. The webinar will be archived on the NCUA website about two weeks after the event for those who cannot participate in the live session.

CFPB continues to test mortgage disclosure form revisions

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WASHINGTON (10/18/11)--The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has released another version of its simplified mortgage disclosure form as part of its ongoing Know Before You Owe project. The CFPB’s Know Before You Owe project, which began in May, asked for comment on several drafts of a sample mortgage form that combines certain consumer disclosures required under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) into one document. The revisions are meant to make the disclosures concerning the costs and risks of mortgage loans clearer and to help consumers comparison shop for the best mortgage loan offer. The combined form is required under the Dodd-Frank Act, and the CFPB is required to publish rules and model disclosures for the new mortgage form by July 2012. The CFPB said it has received more than 24,000 comments during the previous stages of the form revision project. Commenters have recommended adding information on total payments and closing costs to the form, and have also proposed design changes, the CFPB said. The latest version of the form is not being released online for public comment, but is being tested by lenders and potential homebuyers in the Albuquerque, N.M., area. The CFPB is still working on the final version of the mortgage disclosure form and said Monday that a prototype closing disclosure would be released for public comment soon. The agency late last month said it would begin developing new mortgage regulations once the ongoing mortgage disclosure form revision project is completed. Credit Union National Association (CUNA) staff have met with the CFPB to discuss the mortgage disclosure revision project, and CUNA continues to be actively involved in roundtable discussions and other forums with CFPB personnel and others as the drafting and testing phases of the revision process moves forward. For the CFPB release, use the resource link.

Cheney on CNBC Bank backlash leads to growing CU membership

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WASHINGTON (10/18/11)--Credit unions, and their new members, are poised to benefit as more and more Americans become fed up with their banks, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney said during a Monday interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box. A proposed nationwide Bank Transfer Day, scheduled for Nov. 5, appears to be gaining some momentum as around 50,000 people had pledged on Facebook, as of Monday night, to remove their funds from banks and transfer them into credit unions. Asked by CNBC’s hosts if such a mass movement could trigger bank runs, Cheney emphasized that is unlikely. Overall, Cheney said, the message from CUNA and credit unions is that big bank customers would certainly “find a better value” at their local credit union branch. Cheney also noted that many current bank customers aren’t waiting for Nov. 5 to make their move. Some credit unions have already seen new membership applications increase fivefold, and traffic at CUNA’s has doubled over the past several weeks, Cheney explained. Much of this new attention is related to Bank of America's plans to raise its debit card fees to $5 a month. Many other large banks have also announced changes to deal with the burdens caused by the new debit interchange fee cap. Cheney noted that credit unions are “holding the line on fees,” and a large majority of credit unions have free checking accounts. He said credit unions offer most of the same services that can be found at larger banks, and have become more convenient through participation in shared branches and surcharge-free ATM networks like the 28,000 ATM CO-OP Network. Asked about a New York Times story over the weekend that suggested banks’ automatic bill pay and other new technologies are intended to make it harder and more complicated for customers to switch institutions, Cheney said he believes the real motivation is responding to consumers’ desire for convenient service. Many credit unions offer online bill pay, direct deposit, other online banking services for that reason, Cheney said. He also emphasized that many credit unions have account switch kits on-site to help move their new members through the account transfer process.

CUs see slow week in Washington

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WASHINGTON (10/18/11)--Washington, D.C., should be quiet for credit unions this week as the Senate focuses on appropriations bills and the House is in recess. However, credit unions will still want to look out for a Thursday Senate Banking Committee hearing entitled “Housing Finance Reform: Continuation of the 30-year Fixed-rate Mortgage.” No credit union witnesses are set to appear at this point, but a series of academic witnesses are scheduled to speak during the hearing. Another noteworthy hearing scheduled for Tuesday is the Senate Small Business Committee, which will hear U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner address the first year of the Small Business Jobs Act. Tuesday also will feature a Senate Finance Committee hearing entitled Tax Reform Options: Incentives for Charitable Giving. Congressional Budget Office deputy assistant director for tax analysis Frank Sammartino, charity representatives, and academics are scheduled to testify. The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction is expected to continue to meet in private this week. The committee, which was created as part of an agreement to lift the debt ceiling while making some budget cuts, has been charged with creating more than $1 trillion in deficit reductions. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) continues to emphasize the positive impact that the credit unions have on the members and communities that they serve as the committee identifies areas for deficit reductions.