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Washington Archive

Washington

Public version of new NCUA supervisory manual available

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (11/5/12)--A public version of the National Credit Union Administration's (NCUA) new National Supervision Policy Manual (NSPM) was released on Friday.

The manual details internal NCUA operations and supervisory procedures for agency staff. Portions of the manual were removed from the public release version.

The NCUA developed the new NSPM over a two-year span. The new NSPM creates uniform operations and procedures for supervision throughout the country and improves the agency's ability to operate efficiently across regions, the NCUA said. Agency examiners were first trained on the new procedures in April, and that training process is ongoing.

The manual also implements key recommendations from federally mandated Material Loss Reviews conducted by NCUA's Office of Inspector General. The agency plans to review and update the NSPM as needed.

NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz said the new NSPM "brings more consistency and clarity to NCUA's supervisory operations and procedures across the country. In the past, practices have sometimes varied by region, and we felt it was important to bring these processes into a framework to improve and standardize credit union supervision," she added.

"Credit unions have relayed to me they are already seeing exam consistency improvements since the NSPM procedures went live nationally in July of this year," Matz said.

The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and its Examination and Supervision Subcommittee plan to discuss the new exam manual with NCUA Director of Examinations and Insurance Larry Fazio.

CUNA earlier this year said that while examination consistency can be positive, the goal is to have examiners treat credit unions in a consistently professional manner, allowing the credit unions to develop and implement their own solutions to address problems.

Hurricane NCUA reminds CUs members help is available

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (11/5/12)--As the East Coast slowly recovers from Hurricane Sandy, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) is doing its part to help credit unions in impacted areas restore normal operations.

"After major natural disasters, Americans come together and help each other," NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz said. "NCUA is doing its part to assist credit unions and their members in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Our examiners along the East Coast are checking with their credit unions to provide support and assistance; our consumer experts are answering the many financial questions that members may have; and we're expediting consideration of credit union emergency grant applications. NCUA will continue to do what's needed to help," she added.

The NCUA this week activated its disaster relief policy and continues to monitor the status of more than 2,000 credit unions that may have been affected by the storm. The agency said the vast majority of federally insured credit unions are fully operational, but some are only able to operate on a part-time basis or are only offering certain services, such as ATMs. Others are operating out of temporary offices.

Electrical outages, communications difficulties, and facility damages are among the issues reported by credit unions. A list of credit unions impacted by the storm is available on the NCUA site.

The agency earlier this week also reminded low-income credit unions of the Urgent Needs Initiative, which provides grants of up to $7,500 to help restore operations and fix facilities damaged by natural disasters and other unexpected events. The NCUA on Oct. 31 received the first grant request following the storm. The request, which was approved on Nov. 1, will help New York University FCU, New York, N.Y., replace destroyed laptops and obtain secure Internet access.

Calls to the NCUA's consumer assistance hotline have increased in the storm's wake, as callers have asked about the operational status of specific credit union facilities, outages of credit union ATMs facilities, websites and phones, and the status of direct deposits.

The NCUA noted that credit union members seeking emergency assistance related to the hurricane may call (800) 755-1030 for assistance.

For the full NCUA release, use the resource link.

CUNA leagues follow up on key CFPB issues

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WASHINGTON (11/5/12)--Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney last week reiterated CUNAs' and credit unions' suggestions for fixing pending remittance regulations in a letter to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray.

The letter follows an October meeting of CFPB staff, CUNA and CUNA's International Remittances Transfer Regulation Working Group. Credit union leagues have also had productive meetings with the CFPB and Cordray in recent weeks.

Under the CFPB's rule, remittance transfer providers would be required to provide prepayment and receipt disclosures to the consumer sender that include the exchange rate,  fees and taxes  associated with a transfer, and the amount of money that will be received on the other end of the transfer. Remittance transfer providers will also be required to investigate disputes and correct errors. The bureau's new remittance rule will take effect Feb. 7.

In a letter to Cordray, CUNA said credit unions do not fear losing income as a result of these regulations--credit unions charge minimal fees for these services and some actually lose money on these transfers. However, they do worry that members will be forced to stop using their credit unions for such services and have to rely instead on other providers that will charge them much more.

The regulations could ultimately push members away from their credit unions, CUNA added. "Since credit unions have not caused any problems for consumers regarding these transfers, a rule that would bring even some credit union international remittance programs to a halt seems wholly unreasonable," CUNA said.

In the CFPB meeting, CUNA and working group members focused on three key areas the CFPB could improve for credit unions:

  • the exemption level under the final rule;
  • disclosure requirements and in particular, requirements regarding foreign taxes; and
  • the shift of liability to senders for consumer errors or problems caused by third party servicers that affect the timeliness, amount, or other issues associated with receipt of the funds in a foreign country.
Cordray said the agency would consider CUNA's views. For more detail on CUNA's views, use the resource link.

The Northwest Credit Union Association is one credit union group that met recently with Cordray and CFPB staff during a Washington visit. The Kentucky Credit Union League (KYCUL) and Idaho Credit Union League have also discussed Multi-Featured Open-End Lending programs and other key credit union issues with CFPB staff, and Cordray followed up with the KYCUL following this visit. The KYCUL discussed the burden an unintended consequences regulations can create during their talk with Cordray.

Cheney noted that the California Credit Union League will also meet with Cordray and CFPB staff this month, and other leagues have and will meet with CFPB representatives.

"These sessions are very useful to help reinforce the distinctions between credit unions and for-profit financial institutions," Cheney said.

Inside Washington (11/02/2012)

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  • WASHINGTON (11/5/12)--A federal lawsuit that charges Wells Fargo of wrongdoing in connection with loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) should be barred because it conflicts with the terms of the multistate mortgage settlement, Wells Fargo contends. The $25 billion mortgage settlement  that a federal judge approved in April included, in addition to Well Fargo, Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Ally Financial, the Justice Department and 49 states (American Banker Nov. 2). The suit filed in October by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office regards loans insured by the FHA over roughly a decade beginning in May 2001. The settlement "wiped the slate clean" for Wells Fargo in terms of facing any further liability to the U.S., according to papers filed by the financial giant with U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer, who approved the settlement …
  • WASHINGTON (11/5/12)--Regional banks. that have previously let large firms and community banks promote their political agenda in Washington have begun spending more money on lobbying in the past two years. The banks are particularly concerned with the effects of Dodd-Frank rules such as Volcker ban on proprietary trading and procedures for unwinding failed banks (Bloomberg Nov. 2). The mid-sized banks contend they should be considered in a different light by regulators because they focus on traditional deposits and lending rather than the higher-risk activities. Atlanta-based SunTrust has spent $75,000 on lobbying this year after spending less than $5,000 on lobbying in 2011 and 2010, according to federal records. PNC, based in Pittsburgh, has invested $750,000 this year and $1.53 million in 2011 after spending $570,000 in 2010, records show. Regions Financial has spent $890,000 on lobbying so far this year compared with $1 million last year. In 2010 it spent $540,000 …
  • WASHINGTON (11/5/12)--The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) has scheduled a Nov. 8 meeting of its Advisory Committee on Community Banking, the schedule that includes an update from staff working on the agency's Community Banking Initiatives, including a summary of the six community banker roundtables held across the country this year. It also includes updates on both the research agenda and supervisory process initiatives. The FDIC Advisory Committee on Community Banking was established in 2009 to provide the board of directors with guidance on a broad range of policy issues affecting small community banks and the communities they serve, with a focus on rural areas …

NCUAs 2013 open meeting schedule is here

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (11/5/12)--The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) just released its monthly meeting schedule for 2013.

Following long-standing practice, no meeting is scheduled for August. All open meetings are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. (ET) on the following dates:
  • Jan. 10
  • Feb. 21
  • March 14
  • April 18
  • May 16
  • June 20
  • July 25
  • Sept. 12
  • Oct. 24
  • Nov. 21
  • Dec. 12
The 2013 board meeting schedule is subject to change.

CUNA urges unique treatment for CUs under FASB framework

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WASHINGTON (11/5/12)--Credit unions are unique in their structure and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) asked the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) to recognize the uniqueness as it develops a decision-making framework that will guide the recently created Private Company Council as it determines whether exceptions to U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles--or GAAP--for credit unions and other private entities are appropriate.

CUNA generally supported FASB's proposed framework saying it includes successfully appropriate factors differentiating private companies from public companies that the PCC will examine in its assessment of whether exceptions to GAAP are necessary and appropriate.

However, CUNA took exception with FASB's approach that would require all private companies, including credit unions, that apply certain industry-specific accounting guidance to generally follow the same industry-specific guidance that public companies follow.

In its Oct. 31 comment letter, CUNA noted that credit unions—as not-for-profit, member-owned financial cooperatives—exist to serve their members not to make a profit.  Unlike most other financial institutions, credit unions do not issue stock or pay dividends to outside stockholders.

"They use their earnings to build capital and work hard to provide favorable rates on loans, and savings, and to charge lower fees," reminded CUNA Assistant General Counsel Luke Martone in the letter.

"We urge FASB to consider that the credit union business model is quite different from that of publicly traded entities. The stakeholders of a credit union for information purposes are its members and its regulator, not the public or shareholders who have purchased publicly traded stock."

Use the resource link to read the complete CUNA comment.

NEW 2013 NCUA open meeting schedule just released

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (UPDATED 11/2/12, 3:20 p.m. ET)--The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) just released its monthly meeting schedule for 2013.

Following long-standing practice, no meeting is scheduled for August. All open meetings are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. (ET) on the following dates:
  • Jan. 10
  • Feb. 21
  • March 14
  • April 18
  • May 16
  • June 20
  • July 25
  • Sept. 12
  • Oct. 24
  • Nov. 21
  • Dec. 12
The 2013 board meeting schedule is subject to change.