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Inside Exchange: Matz Goes On Record With Gentile On Key Regulatory Issues Facing CUs

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WASHINGTON (11/1/13)--From the anticipated range of corporate assessments, to a new stress testing proposal, National Credit Union Administration Chair Debbie Matz covers a wide spectrum of issues in the most recent edition of Inside Exchange with the Credit Union National Association's Paul Gentile.

This is Part I of a two-part "Inside Exchange" with the NCUA chair. One of the key issues covered in Part 1 is NCUA's approach with new regulations and its approach to regulating the evolving credit union system.

"We are reallocating resources to the credit unions where there's risk and those tend to be the larger credit unions. I don't see us decreasing our work force, but I see a reallocation.

"We will have more examiners focused on those credit unions and also more specialists that have expertise in capital markets and member business lending. But for the smaller credit unions they will probably have examiners in their shops for fewer hours because we're doing a reduced scope in smaller credit unions that don't have significant issues."



Matz is the only NCUA board member to serve two terms: her first back in 2002 and her most recent starting in 2009. She reflected on how NCUA has changed from her first term to today.

"The staff is so different. Eighty percent of our office directors and regional directors are in different positions...and 40% of our examiners have been with us less than five years. So the good news is we have a lot of fresh faces and fresh eyes and new perspectives," she said.

In terms of the NCUA's new proposal on stress testing for credit unions with $10 billion or more in assets, Matz said, "We are reallocating resources to the credit unions where there's risk and those tend to be the larger."

Other topics addressed in the Part I interview include stress testing, how NCUA interacts with the CFPB, examiner hours and focus, corporate assessments, NCUA's use of credit union feedback and more. Part II will concentrate on the 2014 NCUA Budget, the agency's CUSO proposal, Matz's outlook for regulatory relief and more.

NCUA Bans Four From CU Work(1)

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (11/1/13)--The National Credit Union Administration has banned four former credit union employees from participating in the affairs of any federally insured financial institution.

The NCUA said the orders involve the following individuals:
  • A former Mountain America FCU, West Jordan, Utah, employee, Monica Guzman, who was sentenced to one year in prison and three years of probation, and ordered to pay restitution after pleading guilty to theft charges;
  • Another former Mountain America FCU employee, Travis Jenkins, who was sentenced to one year in prison and ordered to pay $27,251.90 in restitution after pleading guilty to wrongful appropriation charges;
  • A former Remington FCU, Richfield Springs, N.Y., employee Michael Swanka, who was sentenced to a three-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay $12,258 in restitution after pleading guilty to grand larceny charges; and
  • A former Credit Union of Leavenworth County, Lansing, Kans., employee Carla Welborn, who was sentenced to 21 months in prison and five years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $329,702.55 in restitution, after pleading guilty to embezzlement charges.
Violation of a prohibition order is a felony offense punishable by imprisonment and a fine of up to $1 million.

Use the resource link to access all NCUA enforcement orders.

CUNA's Cheney Named a 2013 Top Lobbyist In The Hill

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WASHINGTON (11/01/13)--The Credit Union National Association and its president/CEO, Bill Cheney, were again featured in The Hill's annual list of top lobbyists--this year for "fighting tooth and nail" to preserve the credit union tax status "amid fierce opposition from the banking sector."

The Hill says of its prestigious list: "While not every advocate on the list fits the traditional K Street mold, they all have one thing in common: a proven ability to make things happen in Washington." It is Cheney's third consecutive year on the top lobbying list; he became head of CUNA in 2010.

"This recognition reflects the ongoing efforts of CUNA, the state leagues and credit unions--throughout the past year and every year--to be the strong voice advocating for the best interests of credit unions and their 98 million members across America," said Paul Gentile, CUNA executive vice president of strategic communications and engagement.
 
Gentile added that in both legislative and regulatory advocacy, CUNA's goals are to minimize restrictions and maximize flexibility for credit unions to best serve their members.
 
CUNA was one of just 69 associations named to The Hill's 2012 list of nonprofit lobbyists. The Hill also lists leaders in grassroots, corporate and "hired gun" categories.
 
The Hill noted that it uses the term "lobbyist" broadly "to encompass the people who are working day in and day out" to help shape federal policy.  Not all of those listed are registered lobbyists, The Hill added.

For the full story, use the resource link.

Fed To Host Town Halls On Payment System Improvements

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WASHINGTON (11/1/13)--Payment industry stakeholders can learn more about the Federal Reserve Bank's thoughts on the future of the system, and bring their own views to Fed leadership, in a series of upcoming payment system town halls.
 
The Fed Banks are working to address potential gaps and opportunities in the payments system, including payment speed, closed payment communities, and international, mobile, and traditional payment channels. The Fed is also exploring where it fits in the payment system going forward, and has released a paper on potential payments system changes and improvements to help collect public comment.
 
"Success in achieving improvements will require collaboration across the industry," Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President/CEO and Federal Reserve Banks' Financial Services Policy Committee Chair Sandra Pianalto said.
 
The town halls are currently scheduled to be held on:
  • Nov. 12 at 1 p.m. (ET) at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta;
  • Nov. 13 at 1 p.m. (ET) at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland;
  • Nov. 14 at 8:30 p.m. (CT) at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago;
  • Nov. 15 at 8:30 p.m. (PT) at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco;
  • Nov. 18 at 8:30 p.m. (ET) at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston; and
  • Nov. 20 at 8:30 p.m. (CT) at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
Each session is planned to last around  three hours.

Interested parties can register for the events at FedPaymentsImprovement.org.

The Credit Union National Association and its Payments Policy Subcommittee met and recently discussed payment system issues with senior Fed Bank staff, and CUNA continues to encourage credit unions to share their views on payments and submit responses to the Fed's payment system improvement initiative by Dec. 13. CUNA has also released a comment call on payment system issues. Comment is due to CUNA by Nov. 18.

FinCEN Provides Fact Sheet On FI Info Sharing

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VIENNA, Va. (11/1/13)--The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Thursday issued a fact sheet on a section of the USA PATRIOT Act that allows credit unions and other financial institutions to share information with one another.

The information sharing is permitted as a way to help identify and report suspected terrorism and money laundering activities. Financial institutions must notify FinCEN of their intent to share information and ensure adequate steps to maintain confidentiality.

The fact sheet explores such topics as the benefits of information sharing under FinCEn's 314 (b) program, who is eligible to participate in the program, what information can be shared, and more.

Use the resource link to access the fact sheet.

Watt FHFA Nomination Not Approved In Senate Vote

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WASHINGTON (11/1/13)--Rep. Mel Watt's (D-N.C.) bid to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency was blocked in the U.S. Senate Thursday after a motion to end debate on his nomination failed with a vote of 56 to 42, mostly along party lines.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filed a cloture motion on Watt's nomination on Monday. Sixty "yes" votes would have ended debate and allowed Watt's nomination to proceed for a final Senate vote.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), after the Thursday vote, said "this is not the end for Congressman Watt's nomination," and added that he would continue to fight to see that Watt is confirmed. The nomination could be brought up again if Senate leadership feels they have the votes needed to pass it, Credit Union National Association Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs Ryan Donovan said.

Watt was nominated by President Barack Obama in May. Watt has served in the U.S. Congress since 1992, and is a veteran member of the House Financial Services Committee. If confirmed by the Senate, he would replace FHFA Acting Director Edward DeMarco, who has led that agency since Sept. 1, 2009.

Obama in 2011 nominated former North Carolina bank commissioner Joseph Smith to serve as full-time director, but that nomination was not confirmed.