Archive Links

Consumer Archive
CU System Archive
Market Archive
Products Archive
Washington Archive

Washington Archive

Washington

Inside Washington (10/29/2010)

 Permanent link
* WASHINGTON (11/1/10)- -Foreclosures have historically been a state issue, but several industry observers call for a national standard to govern the process, said American Banker (Oct. 29). While banks can use federal standards governing much of the lending process, they are still subject to local laws governing foreclosures, which range from California; unless a lender there has offered a modification, it must delay a foreclosure proceeding by a least six months, to Massachusetts; where the attorney general can review any foreclosure where the property is the primary residence of the borrow. “There are huge disparities in the time lines themselves, whether judicial or nonjudicial.…From that standpoint it’s a disparity in borrower treatment across the board,” said Cliff Rossi, a former banker who is an executive-in-residence at the University of Maryland’s Center for Financial Policy… * WASHINGTON (11/1/10)--The Internal Revenue Service last week released IR-2010-108 to announce cost-of-living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2011. The IRS release notes that, In general, the limits will either remain unchanged, or the inflation adjustments for 2011 will be small. For instance, the elective deferral, or contribution, limit for employees who participate in section 401(k), 403(b), or 457(b) plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan remains unchanged at $16,500. The catch-up contribution limit under those plans for those aged 50 and over remains unchanged at $5,500… * WASHINGTON (11/1/10)- -The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), has released an updated version of its instructor-led Money Smart financial education curriculum for adults. This latest version incorporates changes in the law and industry practices that have occurred since 2006. For example, the curriculum reflects recent amendments to the rules pertaining to credit cards and the new overdraft opt-in rule. A new module, Financial Recovery, provides steps consumers can take to rebuild their finances after a financial setback. To obtain free copies of the curriculum visit the Money Smart page on FDIC’s web site… *WASHINGTON (11/1/10) -- The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform has rescheduled this month’s meeting to Nov. 30. The commission, which serves as the president’s bipartisan deficit panel, is required to present recommendations to the U.S. Congress by Dec. 1 aimed at balancing the budget, excluding interest payments on existing debt, by 2015 and achieve long-term fiscal sustainability…

Game Change authors to offer insights at 2011 GAC

 Permanent link
WASHINGTON (11/01/10)--Political pundits and co-authors of the New York Times No. 1 best-seller “Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, Palin and McCain, and the Race of a Lifetime,” Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, have been added to the list of speakers at the 2011 edition of the Credit Union National Association’s Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC).
Halperin and Heilemann will discuss their book, the historic 2008 and nascent 2012 presidential campaigns, and other pressing political topics. The pair of speakers will also hold an audience Q&A session. Halperin currently covers politics and government as editor-at-large and senior political analyst for TIME. He has also appeared on several MSNBC programs and covered politics for 20 years with ABC News. Yesterday he was a guest on NBC's "Meet the Press." John Heilemann is currently a feature writer, political correspondent and columnist for New York magazine, and has also written for The Economist, Wired and The New Yorker. The GAC will open with a performance by classic rockers Three Dog Night, and will also feature a keynote speech by "Miracle on the Hudson" pilot Captain Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III and political point-counterpoint between conservative commentator Mary Matalin and liberal web leader Arianna Huffington. To register for this year’s GAC, use the resource link.

CUSOs may finance cab medallion purchases NCUA

 Permanent link
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (11/01/10)--Credit union service organizations (CUSOs) may originate business loans that are then used to purchase taxi medallions, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) said in a recently released legal opinion. This corrects a previous NCUA determination which incorrectly stated that credit union service organizations (CUSOs) could not originate or fund loans used for the purchase of taxicab medallions. In the legal opinion, NCUA Associate General Counsel Hattie Ulan said that brokering taxi medallion loans is “a permissible CUSO activity within the category of loan support services.” However, Ulan added, “this activity may involve compliance with other federal law or state or local requirements and, as with all permissible CUSO activities, a CUSO must comply with those requirements.” In the case cited in the letter, the CUSO would mainly be responsible for submitting loan applications from credit union members to credit union lenders. This type of loan broker activity is “permissible under the pre-approved category of ‘loan support services’ in the CUSO rule,” Ulan said. Taxi medallions are symbols that are usually attached to the hood of New York City cabs. The medallions are licenses that are regulated by the city and allow drivers to pick up curb-side passengers. The city limits the number of medallions that are released, so these medallions are often sold between drivers, and can sell for over $700,000, the NCUA said.

Gift-card date change gets Fed final approval

 Permanent link
WASHINGTON (11/01/10)--The Federal Reserve (Fed) on Friday officially published in the Federal Register an amendment that would provide a January 31 effective date for rules that will require new disclosures on gift certificates, store gift cards, and general-use prepaid cards that were issued before April 1. These new disclosures are mandated by the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009. The previous effective date was Aug. 22. The disclosures must be provided via toll-free telephone numbers, websites, in-store signage, and other methods of general advertising. The disclosures must specifically inform consumers that there will be no dormancy, inactivity, or service fees and that these cards, specifically the underlying funds, will not expire, regardless of what is printed on the card. This information must be made available until Jan. 31, 2013. However, the in-store signs and general advertising will not be required on or after Jan. 31, 2011. CUNA in a comment letter sent last month commended the Fed for providing "the additional flexibility in the interim final rule that will facilitate compliance with these extended effective date provisions." For the rule, as published in the Federal Register, use the resource link.

Interchange rule work continues CUNA

 Permanent link
WASHINGTON (11/01/10)—The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) “continues to work to achieve a favorable interchange rule” while also watching the progression of a recent anti-interchange lawsuit against the U.S. government, CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney said. Interchange provisions, which were passed as part of a comprehensive financial regulatory reform bill this fall, direct the Federal Reserve Board to write rules on interchange fees for debit card purchases. The interchange provisions exempt small credit unions and other financial institutions with under $10 billion in assets from any interchange changes. CUNA continues to discuss interchange issue with federal official and has also reached out to Treasury officials to discuss how their government programs that provide benefits through debit cards which are also exempt from the Fed's interchange rulemaking will be affected. Another meeting of CUNA’s interchange working group is also in the works. CUNA is also closely monitoring developments in TCF National Bank’s recent legal actions against the Federal Reserve. According to the TCF complaint, the interchange law is unconstitutional because it only applies to banks of a certain size and does not allow recovery of cost and profit for affected financial institutions. TCF also cited a lack of legislative history for the interchange amendment in its lawsuit. Cheney said that “while there is merit to some of the claims, the bank’s emphasis on problems created by favorable treatment for smaller institutions, including credit unions, raises concerns.” “A precedent must not be set that would, in effect, limit Congress’s ability to treat credit unions differently from banks under other laws,” Cheney added.