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Top among bipartisan PACs CUNA

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WASHINGTON (10/28/10)--With Tuesday’s midterm elections looming, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) leads the top 50 political interest groups as the single most bipartisan spender on independent expenditures (IEs), the Washington Post reported. Independent expenditures are campaign spending -- such as television or radio ads or direct mail -- that are spent by outside groups, independent of a given candidate or campaign. A total of 56% of CUNA’s independent expenditures (IE) went to Democratic candidates, with the remainder going to Republicans. The majority of the top 50 interest groups spent more than 89% of their total expenditures on candidates from one party. The Post report, which is based on Oct. 24 Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings, ranked CUNA 49th out of 212 organizations that made independent expenditures (IE) during this campaign cycle. CUNA ranked 5th among trade associations, trailing only the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Realtors, the American Hospital Association, and the National Association of Manufacturers in total spending. CUNA had spent a total of $837,000 in funds as of Oct. 24. CUNA’s Credit Union Legislative Action Committee (CULAC) has backed Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), and Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-Ala.) during this general election. CUNA also backed New Hampshire Senate candiate Ovide Lamontagne (R) in his unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination. CUNA Vice President of Political Affairs Trey Hawkins said that “CUNA’s IE campaigns, like all of our political activities, aren't focused on helping candidates of one party of the other. First and foremost we look to help candidates that understand and support credit unions."

NCUA reminds CUs Workshop reg. still open

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (10/28/10)--Credit unions can still register for the National Credit Union Administration’s (NCUA) free Nov. 19 credit union workshop in Jackson, Miss. Credit unions of all sizes may take part in the workshop, and the NCUA is offering $250 registration fee stipends for credit unions with assets of $10 million or less. The workshop, which will start at 7:45 A.M. ET, will feature discussion of the many issues facing credit unions and regulatory hot topics. The positive impact that enhanced due diligence, balance sheet processes and strategic management processes can have on a credit union’s bottom line will also be covered, as will ways that credit unions can offer alternatives to harmful payday loans. There will also be a presentation on how to know when credit unions should recognize allowances for loan lease losses. The NCUA is also covering these and other credit union issues at upcoming workshops in Jacksonville, Fla., Los Angeles, and Silver Spring, Md. To register for the Jackson, Miss. Event, or the other NCUA workshops, use the resource links.

Mortgage disclosure comments due to CUNA Nov. 11

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WASHINGTON (10/28/10)--The Federal Reserve Board’s (Fed) proposal that would require lenders to disclose how borrowers’ mortgage payments will change over time so that they may be alerted to the risks of payment increases before they consummate the loan remains open for public comment, and the Credit Union National Association has encouraged credit unions to speak their minds. The Fed’s proposal requires lenders to provide a payment summary table that details the initial interest rate, along with the monthly payment amount, and the maximum interest rate and payment that can occur during the first five years and the maximum rate and payment that is possible over the life of variable rate loans. Certain loan features, such as balloon payments or options to make only minimum payments that cause the loan balance to increase, must also be disclosed. Information on loan refinancing, along with a statement that the consumer may not be able to refinance the loan to obtain a lower rate and payment, must also be included. Credit unions may forward their comments to the Credit Union National Association by Nov. 11. CUNA had previously stated that it would accept comments until Nov. 1. Credit unions and other interested parties will have until Nov. 23 to comment directly to the Fed. The interim rule will become effective on Jan. 30. 2011. For CUNA's comment call, use the resource link.

Inside Washington (10/27/2010)

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* WASHINGTON (10/28/10)--The next generation of homebuyers could be scared away from home ownership unless the mortgage industry proves it is willing to be held accountable for past wrongdoing, according to David Stevens, commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Speaking to industry participants at the Mortgage Bankers Association’s annual convention in Atlanta, Stevens said future homebuyers could be resistant to entering the market after watching the housing market meltdown and learning about dubious foreclosure practices (American Banker Oct. 27). To rebuild trust, the industry must persuade homebuyers that abuses will not be tolerated. When the current refinancing boom passes, the industry will also need to reassure potential homebuyers that homeownership is still meaningful … * WASHINGTON (10/28/10)--State attorneys general will probably play a key role in addressing questionable foreclosure proceedings, according to Elizabeth Warren, the assistant to the president charged with launching the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. During a recent interview, Warren said information gathered by state attorneys general and the bureau will be combined to identify the parameters of the foreclosure problem (Dow Jones Oct. 27). She said the bureau’s role at this time is limited to collecting information and gauging the scope of the issue … * WASHINGTON (10/28/10)--The Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle will be allowed to repurchase member stock and could potentially pay dividends in mid-2011 if it hits financial targets and satisfies regulators’ concerns. A consent order signed this week by the Federal Housing Finance Agency sets the terms for future operations (American Banker Oct. 27). The bank’s operations have been limited by regulatory restrictions since November 2009 due to the agency’s concerns that the bank was undercapitalized. The agency accepted the bank’s plan to restore capital in the consent order, but the bank will still be treated as undercapitalized until its metrics improve. Other regulatory issues deal with oversight, management, asset improvement program, compensation practices and retained earnings. The bank’s regulatory difficulties date to 2004, when the bank began purchasing mortgages from members in a program that later incurred significant losses …