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Washington Archive

Washington

Small CU consulting program deadline approaching

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (11/26/12)--The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) last week reminded credit unions that the nomination deadline for its Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives (OSCUI) Consulting Program is approaching.

Nominations for the first 2013 round of the program must be received by Friday, the NCUA said.

OSCUI Director William Myers said the program has much to offer eligible credit unions. "Those that participated in the first round earlier this year received a great deal of value, and we're hopeful more credit unions will take advantage of the opportunity," he added.

Through the consulting program, OSCUI offers budgeting, marketing, policy development and strategic planning assistance. The experienced economic development specialists that offer this assistance also help credit unions tackle other examination issues.

Credit unions with less than $10 million in total assets, charters that have been approved within the past 10 years, or low-income designations may apply for the consulting program.

More than 200 credit unions took part in the program's most recent round. For more information and  a nomination form, use the resource link.

Inside Washington (11/21/2012)

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  • WASHINGTON (11/26/12)--Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke Tuesday warned that lingering uncertainties about the fiscal cliff, the raising of the debt limit and concern about the federal budget are contributing to an increased sense of caution on financial markets and having an adverse effect on the economy. "Continuing to push off difficult policy choices will only prolong and intensify these uncertainties," said Bernanke, in a speech before the New York Economic Club. Bernanke cited a Congressional Budget Office study that suggested going over the fiscal cliff could create a shock that would send the economy back into recession. As fiscal policymakers face the critical decisions, they should seek to minimize federal budget deficit, Bernanke said. The federal budget is on an "unsustainable path," he said. Policymakers should also avoid contributing to the "headwinds" that are hold back the economy. The headwinds include a slow housing market, a tight credit market, an uncertain financial climate in Europe and tight budget conditions for state and local governments …
  • NEW YORK (11/26/12)--The Federal Home Loan Bank of New York announced Tuesday that, as a result of the uncertainty posed by provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act and rules released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), it plans to stop processing international wire transfers for its members on Dec. 31. Dodd-Frank required the CFPB to issue rules on remittance transfers wires. In turn, the CFPB has issued rules to protect U.S. consumers who send money electronically to foreign countries. Those rules are slated to take effect Feb. 7 …

Spending survey receives broad press coverage

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WASHINGTON (11/26/12)--Last week's release of the Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) and Consumer Federation of America's (CFA) 13th annual projection of consumers' holiday spending plans garnered widespread press coverage.

Among the television, cable and radio networks, and newspaper groups that attended or covered the press conference:
  • ABC Radio;
  • CNN;
  • Bloomberg; and
  • CBS.
CUNA Chief Economist Bill Hampel, at the podium, presents the results of this year's CUNA/Consumer Federation of America 2012 holiday spending survey. (CUNA Photo)
CBS Radio and Bloomberg print reporters were among those that followed up with CUNA after the event, and CUNA Chief Economist Bill Hampel also discussed the survey on Fox Business Network early on "Black Friday," Nov. 23.

The survey, which was unveiled during a Wednesday event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., found that more consumers plan to spend more than they did last year, while fewer plan to reduce their 2012 holiday spending.

Overall, Hampel estimated that 2012 holiday spending could increase by between 3.5% and 4% compared to 2011's totals. This improvement represents the fourth year of gradual improvement in holiday spending plans since a sharp decline in such plans in 2008, Hampel said. (See related News Now story: Holiday spending will continue upward trend, CUNA/CFA say)

Mark Wolff, CUNA senior vice president of communications, noted that CUNA "has been doing this joint press event with CFA for 13 years now as another way to reinforce with the public and through the media that credit unions are a trusted resource for consumers."

NMLS webinar set for Dec 6

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WASHINGTON (11/26/12)--Annual renewal processes for federal registrations will be reviewed during a Dec. 6 webinar, the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System & Registry (NMLS) announced last week.

The Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act (SAFE Act) requires credit union mortgage loan originators (MLOs) and their employing institutions to register with the NMLS, which became active in early 2011. The NMLS registry is intended to increase consumer protection and to help financial regulators coordinate and share mortgage originator information.

The NMLS noted that the Dec. 6 webinar is intended for financial institution account users, not individual MLOs. The registration fee is $75.

In a release, the NMLS said the webinar will address:

  • Tools and resources available to help with NMLS renewal;
  • Completing renewal of the institution account;
  • Initiating renewal for employed MLOs manually;
  • Initiating renewal for employed MLOs using an upload feature;
  • Individual renewal attestation process;
  • Utilizing the renewal activation report; and
  • Confirming renewal complete in NMLS.
All NMLS accounts for financial institutions must be renewed annually, and this year's renewal period is scheduled to end on Dec. 31.

Credit unions and other MLOs are required to ensure that their mortgage loan originators are properly registered and prohibit any employees who are not registered from performing any residential mortgage loan origination duties.

For more on the webinar, use the resource link.

Holiday spending will continue upward trend CUNACFA say

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WASHINGTON (11/26/12)--The 2012 Consumer Federation of America (CFA)/Credit Union National Association (CUNA) holiday spending survey has found that more consumers plan to spend more than they did last year, while fewer plan to curtail their spending this year, CUNA Chief Economist Bill Hampel said last week.

Click for slide show Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Chief Economist Bill Hampel (right) and Consumer Federation of America (CFA) Executive Director Stephen Brobeck announce the results of their 13th annual joint survey on consumer holiday spending expectations. The survey results showed a strong connection between holiday spending plans and family financial situations. Thirty-one percent of those who feel more financially secure this year said they would spend more this holiday season, while 66% of those whose financial situation has worsened said they planned to spend less. (CUNA Photo)
In the past year, the percentage of consumers who said they would spend more than last year rose from 8% to 12%. Those who said they would spend less declined from 41% to 38%.

The survey, which is the 13th compiled by the CFA and CUNA, was presented at The National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Hampel was joined by CFA Executive Director Stephen Brobeck to present the survey findings. The survey takes a timely read on consumer sentiment, and is released to coincide with the start of the holiday shopping season. It was conducted Nov. 9 through 13 and polled 1,012 consumers.

Overall, Hampel estimated that 2012 holiday spending could increase by between 3.5% and 4% compared to 2011's totals.

Hampel said "this represents the fourth year of gradual improvement in holiday spending plans since a sharp decline in such plans in 2008." The 2012 survey results are not a dramatic shift from last year's totals, but represent another step in America's continuing economic recovery, he added.

The 2012 survey showed close connections between financial condition and planned spending, with 31% of those that said they would spend more this year indicating their financial condition had improved since 2011. Eleven percent of respondents with incomes under $25,000 said they would spend more this year, while 44% said they planned to spend less. Eighteen percent of those with family incomes of more than $100,000 said they planned to spend more this year, while 31% at that income level said they would decrease their total holiday spending.

Overall, nearly one-in-four of the survey respondents found their financial situation has improved in the past year, and 33% said their personal financial condition has worsened. These changes are both improvements when compared to 2011's results.

The CFA and CUNA suggested that consumers looking to spend less this holiday season avoid impulse buying by sticking to a predetermined budget for gifts, holiday foods, party clothes and holiday decor.

Consumers can also use the Internet to comparison shop, and will benefit by starting their holiday shopping sooner rather than later.

Starting a holiday savings account or curbing spending by finding low- or no-cost ways to celebrate the holidays are also options, Brobeck said.

CUNA and CFA's tips to help consumers manage holiday debt, which traditionally accompany the survey findings, also note that holiday club accounts can be found at many credit unions, as can credit cards that typically have lower rates than those of other financial institutions.

The CUNA/CFA release suggests consumers looking to join a credit union go to aSmarterChoice.org, the consumer web site established by CUNA and credit union leagues.

NEW Holiday spending will continue upward trend CUNACFA say

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WASHINGTON (UPDATED: 3:00 P.M. ET, 11/21/12)--The 2012 Consumer Federation of America (CFA)/Credit Union National Association (CUNA) holiday spending survey has found that more consumers plan to spend more than they did last year, while fewer plan to curtail their spending this year, CUNA Chief Economist Bill Hampel said Wednesday.

In the past year, the percentage of consumers who said they would spend more than last year rose from 8% to 12%. Those who said they would spend less declined from 41% to 38%.

The survey, which is the 13th compiled by the CFA and CUNA, was presented at The National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Hampel was joined by CFA Executive Director Stephen Brobeck to present the survey findings. The survey takes a timely read on consumer sentiment. It was conducted Nov. 9 through 13 and polled 1,012 consumers.

Overall, Hampel estimated that 2012 holiday spending could increase by between 3.5% and 4% compared to 2011's totals.

Hampel said "this represents the fourth year of gradual improvement in holiday spending plans since a sharp decline in such plans in 2008." The 2012 survey results are not a dramatic shift from last year's totals, but represent another step in America's continuing economic recovery, he added.

The 2012 survey showed close connections between financial condition and planned spending, with 31% of those that said they would spend more this year indicating their financial condition had improved since 2011. Eleven percent of respondents with incomes under $25,000 said they would spend more this year, while 44% said they planned to spend less. Eighteen percent of those with family incomes of more than $100,000 said they planned to spend more this year, while 31% at that income level said they would decrease their total holiday spending.

Overall, nearly one-in-four of the survey respondents found their financial situation has improved in the past year, and 33% said their personal financial condition has worsened. These changes are both improvements when compared to 2011's results.

The CFA and CUNA suggested that consumers looking to spend less this holiday season avoid impulse buying by sticking to a predetermined budget for gifts, holiday foods, party clothes and holiday decor.

Consumers can also use the Internet to comparison shop, and will benefit by starting their holiday shopping sooner rather than later.

Starting a holiday savings account or curbing spending by finding low- or no-cost ways to celebrate the holidays are also options, Brobeck said.

CUNA and CFA's tips to help consumers manage holiday debt, which traditionally accompany the survey findings, also note that holiday club accounts can be found at many credit unions, as can credit cards that typically have lower rates than those of other financial institutions.

The CUNA/CFA release suggests consumers looking to join a credit union go to aSmarterChoice.org, the consumer web site established by CUNA and credit union leagues.