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Washington Archive

Washington

CUNA/CFA Holiday Spending Survey Out Today

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WASHINGTON (11/27/13)--Holiday spending plans, consumer debt concerns and the nation's general feelings about the economy will be revealed when Consumer Federation of America (CFA) Executive Director Stephen Brobeck and Credit Union National Association Chief Economist Bill Hampel present the 2013 Holiday Spending Survey today at the National Press Club in Washington.

This year, 1,002 persons were interviewed by landline or cell phone between Nov. 7 and 10. The respondents were asked whether they feel their financial situation has become better or worse in the past year. The survey also documents changes in consumer attitudes in spending compared to the last several years.

This year's survey will also reveal how the recent fiscal fights in the U.S. Congress, and the subsequent government shutdown, have impacted consumer confidence. The survey presentation is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. ET in the National Press Club's Zenger Room.

The CFA and CUNA also present tips for managing holiday spending, including low-cost and free ways for families to celebrate the holiday, during the survey release.

This is the 14th year that the CFA and CUNA have prepared and released the survey, which is unveiled ahead of Black Friday, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season.

Mortgage Rates, Amounts Down In October, FHFA Reports

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WASHINGTON (11/27/13)--Average mortgage interest rates and loan amounts both fell in October, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported.

The FHFA said the average interest rate on conventional, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages of $417,000 or less was 4.58% in October, a five basis point decrease from the previous month's total. The effective interest rate, which accounts for the addition of initial fees and charges over the life of the mortgage, was 4.49% in October. This is a two basis point reduction from the 4.51% rate recorded in September, FHFA said.

The decline interrupts what had been an "upward trend," the FHFA noted.

The National Average Contract Mortgage Rate for the Purchase of Previously Occupied Homes by Combined Lenders, used as an index in some adjustable-rate mortgage contracts, was down to 4.32%. That was a slight decrease of four basis points from the previous month.

The average loan amount for all loans was $269,000 in October, down $1,100 from $270,100 in August, the agency added.

Federation Looks To Increase CU CDFI Fund Participation

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WASHINGTON (11/27/13)--Noting that credit unions "remain underrepresented among the ranks of certified community development financial institutions (CDFI)," the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions said it will work with state credit union leagues and others to increase credit union participation in the program.

"Though most of the 2,000 low-income credit unions in the U.S. are eligible, only 10% have obtained CDFI certification," the federation said. "Many eligible credit unions are discouraged by the application process, others by the historically low percentage of grants given to credit unions," the federation added.

The U.S. Treasury's CDFI Fund helps locally based financial institutions--including credit unions--offer small business, consumer and home loans in communities and populations that lack access to affordable credit. Credit unions that are certified to take part in the CDFI program may apply for as much as $2 million in funding to help maintain their credit union's presence in the community.

Credit unions made 73 requests for a total of around $77 million in funds for the 2013 fiscal year. More than $21 million in CDFI Fund awards and grants were released to 35 low-income credit unions. Overall, 191 organizations were awarded a total of more than $172 million when fiscal 2013 CDFI Fund awards were announced in late September.

Serving low- and minimum-income consumers and financially underserved communities "is the place where mission and opportunity come together for credit unions," the federation said. "CDFI certification is the gateway to attracting local recognition as a community leader as well as to accessing additional public and private sector funds, the federation added.

For the full federation release, use the resource link.

FDIC: Bank Net Income Down $1.5B In 2013 3Q

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WASHINGTON (11/27/13)--Net income at Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.-insured commercial banks and savings institutions declined by $1.5 billion between the 2012 and 2013 third quarters, totaling $36 billion as of Sept. 30.

This is the first time in 17 quarters--since the second quarter of 2009--that earnings registered a year-over-year decline, the FDIC noted. The decline was mainly the result of a $4 billion increase in litigation expenses at one institution, the agency said, but lower revenue from reduced mortgage activity and lower gains on asset sales also played a part.

Nearly 9% of FDIC-insured banks were unprofitable during the quarter.
"Most of the positive trends we have been seeing in industry performance continued in the third quarter," FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg said. "Fewer institutions reported quarterly losses, lending grew at a modest pace, credit quality continued to improve, more banks came off the 'Problem List,' and fewer banks failed."

Other 2013 third quarter results reported by the FDIC include:
  • An average return on assets of 0.99%;
  • An average return on equity of 9.35%;
  • Net operating revenue of $163.3 billion;
  • An average net interest margin of 3.26%;
  • Total noninterest expenses of $2 billion; and
  • A $5.8 billion provision for loan losses.
For more on the bank financial results, use the resource link.

NEW: CUNA/CFA: Holiday Spending Expected To Increase This Year

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WASHINGTON (11/27/13, UPDATED: 10:15 A.M. ET)--More consumers plan to increase their spending during this year's holiday season, and fewer consumers plan to spend less than they did last year, according to the 14th annual holiday spending survey conducted by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and the Credit Union National Association.

Since 2012, the percentage who said they would spend more than the previous year rose from 12 to 13, while the percentage who said they would spend less declined from 38 to 32. These changes continue the trend from 2011, when only 8% said they would spend more while 41% said they would spend less.

Nearly one-in-four (24%) said their financial situation was better this year than in 2012, while 29% said their financial situation was worse. The percentage of those who said it was worse was the smallest since CFA and CUNA began asking the question in 2009.

"The survey suggests that holiday spending will increase at least as fast as last year. It is also encouraging that fewer Americans see their economic status as worsening, despite on-going federal budget issues in Washington," CUNA Chief Economist Bill Hampel said.

Watch News Now for more on the spending survey release..

NCUA OIG Past, Near Future Detailed In Report To Congress

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (11/27/13)--The National Credit Union Administration's Office of the Inspector General "has been active on both the audit and investigative sides" this year. Details of that office's work and the NCUA's broader endeavors are provided in the OIG's Semiannual Report to the NCUA Board and the Congress.

The report highlights the OIG's and NCUA's work during the six months ended Sept. 30.

In the report, the OIG updates Congress on the status of some ongoing audits, including:
  • An independent evaluation of the NCUA's compliance with the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) of 2013;
  • A review of the NCUA's 2013 financial statements;
  • Material loss reviews of Chetco FCU, Harbor, Ore., and Taupa Lithuanian CU, Cleveland, Ohio;
  • A review of the agency's process for documenting share insurance fund losses and credit union failures; and
  • A review of the NCUA's credit union success stories.
The report also summarizes OIG reviews of the NCUA's conference-related activities and expenses, the security of the NCUA's data center, and the material loss review of El Paso's FCU, El Paso, Texas.

An overview of federally insured credit union key financial indicators, and details on the NCUA's structure, staff, budget, and major projects during 2103 are also provided.

For the full report, use the resource link.