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CUNA looks forward to CU work under Obama

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WASHINGTON (11/5/08)—The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has good relationships with leaders from both political parties and welcomes the election of President-elect Barack Obama as an opportunity to continue to work for progress on credit union legislative priorities, said CUNA senior vice president of legislative affairs, John Magill, late Tuesday night. Although the Obama campaign declined to become giddy over polls leading up to the election that indicated its candidate would be victorious, it had been widely predicted that the Democratic senator from Illinois would become the country’s next president. Magill said of the election results, “Credit unions serve and represent the interests of their member-owners—the every-day Americans who are this country’s voters. CUNA, in working to help credit unions better serve their members, maintains good working relationships with political leaders from both parties.” He added, “We look forward to working with President-elect Obama on credit union legislative priorities, such as freeing up credit through increased member business lending authority and by establishing a risk-based capital system for credit unions.” Inauguration day is more than two months away-- Jan. 20. However, Congressional lawmakers will not be silent until that time. Both the House and Senate have announced intentions to return for a lame duck session the week of Nov. 17—and perhaps another such session in December. Congress is expected to investigate possible further measures for shoring up the nation’s troubled economy and stabilize capital markets. Also an energy bill, defense authorization bill and a continuing resolution to fund the government are pending before Congress. CUNA’s Magill has said that a lame duck session is a good development for credit unions. "The Senate is where CUBTRRA now sits," Magill said, referring to the Credit Union, Bank and Thrift Regulatory Relief Act (H.R. 6312), approved by voice vote in the House on June 24. "A so-called lame duck session in the Senate, after yesterday’s elections, will give us another opportunity—another shot at getting the regulatory improvements through the Senate this year." The bill provides about a dozen improvements for credit unions. "Clearly there is precious little legislative time left on the 2008 clock. However, CUNA continues to work in Congress at every opportunity to advance legislation to provide regulatory relief for credit unions. It’s a long shot for this year—but still a shot," Magill said. See tomorrow’s News Now for further coverage of election results on races of key interest to credit unions.

Gwen Ifill part of CUNA-sponsored election review

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WASHINGTON (11/05/08)--Credit unions will gain broad exposure before a vital audience in the nation's capital during a presidential election discussion organized by the National Journal and “The News Hour with Jim Lehrer.” Today’s session, billed as “The Day After: An Exclusive, Insiders’ Play-by-Play,” will include the following panelists:
* Charlie Cook, political analyst, National Journal; * Gwen Ifill, senior correspondent, “The News Hour,” who also was moderator of a debate between candidates for vice president, Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) and Alaska’s Governor Sarah Palin; and * Amy Walter, editor-in-chief, The Hotline.
The program participants are expected to analyze events that lead up to and culminated in the historic election of the Democratic candidate, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, whose sweeping victory also represents the first time a non-white candidate has run for and been elected as president of the country. CUNA Political Affairs Senior Vice President Richard Gose said through CUNA’s participation in the news event, "insiders from Capitol Hill and in the Washington lobbying community will see credit unions actively engaged in the political arena."

Inside Washington (11/04/2008)

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* WASHINGTON (11/5/08)--Regulators are hoping to increase participation in Hope for Homeowners by easing its standards. The program, which was effective Oct. 1, helps borrowers refinance mortgages that are written down and worth less than their homes (American Banker Nov. 4). Few lenders have applied for the program, according to industry representatives. The government could drop the required writedown to 3% to 5% below market value. Currently, lenders are required to write down a mortgage to 13% below market value. Regulators also could lower borrower eligibility requirements. Currently borrowers’ payment-to-income ratio cannot be higher than 31%. Observers also suggest that annual premiums could be cut in half, to 75 basis points ...

Forbes CarlsonBegala Sinise highlight GAC

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WASHINGTON (11/5/08)--Economic commentary from Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine, and a political face-off between pundits Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson will be among the highlights of the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) 2009 Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC), to be held Feb. 22–26 at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. The 2009 GAC also will again feature a special kickoff concert on Sunday evening, Feb. 22, presented by the CUNA Councils. Performing will be the Lt. Dan Band, formed by Chicago composer Kimo Williams and actor/musician Gary Sinise, star of the hit CBS TV show “CSI New York.” “Lieutenant Dan” is the character Sinise portrayed in the 1994 blockbuster film, “Forrest Gump,” a role that won him an Oscar nomination. The band has completed six tours for the USO and performs regularly for troops around the world. Steve Forbes will offer economic outlook and commentary at a time when the nation continues to struggle through one of the worst financial crises in its history. The current issue of Forbes magazine--the nation’s leading business magazine--features his cover story, “How Capitalism Will Save Us.” He also attained national visibility in both 1996 and 2000 when he campaigned for the Republican nomination for President. Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala will face off over current developments in national news, politics, and world issues. Carlson is a senior correspondent for MSNBC, where he hosted his own fast-paced political talk show. Paul Begala also appeared on Crossfire and is a CNN political analyst and former top aide to President Bill Clinton. He helped his friend John F. Kennedy, Jr., launch the political magazine George and was its Capital columnist. CUNA’s GAC is the credit union movement’s premier national conference on Washington issues. The GAC brings together top policy makers from Congress, the Administration, the federal regulatory agencies and the Washington political establishment to provide the latest information on legislation and regulation that affects credit unions and their ability to serve their members. The GAC also devotes an afternoon to Capitol Hill visits, when attendees meet with their members of Congress and staff to discuss the movement’s legislative agenda. With a new Congress and Administration fresh in office, a top priority of the 2009 GAC will be to ensure policy makers understand the credit union difference. “In the aftermath of the housing and credit crises that has gripped our nation, we know policy makers will be giving close scrutiny to the regulatory scheme and structure that governs the financial sector,” explained CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica. “At such a critically important juncture, it is essential that we make our voices heard. The GAC--where we bring together thousands of credit union representatives--presents a unique opportunity to have a powerful and lasting impact.” GAC housing registration opens Thursday at 2 p.m. ET. Use the resource link below to access more information and the complete schedule.