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Gentile named Executive Vice President Strategic Communications and Engagement for CUNA

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WASHINGTON (11/9/12)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has named New Jersey Credit Union League President/CEO Paul Gentile to the newly created position of Executive Vice President, Strategic Communications and Engagement, effective Jan. 7.

"I am excited to have a leader of Paul's caliber join the CUNA team. He brings a proven track record of success and innovation with the New Jersey Credit Union League and now he will be instrumental in helping CUNA advance the credit union system throughout the country," said CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney.

Gentile has served as NJCUL's CEO since December of 2007. Prior to that, he was the editor/publisher of Credit Union Times. He currently serves on the boards of CUNA and the National Credit Union Foundation.

Reporting directly to Cheney, Gentile will lead CUNA's communications, its business and consumer publishing units, the sales and marketing functions, and join with the executive team in providing strategic support across the organization.

"In his new role Paul will be developing and implementing an overarching, company-wide communications and marketing strategy so that we can more completely and comprehensively engage all of our key audiences and stakeholders," said Cheney. "I have watched Paul's commitment to improving the credit union system over the years and his ability to create momentum for new initiatives. His talents will serve CUNA and the credit union system well."

"The New Jersey Credit Union League could not have achieved what it did for the last several years without the relentless support of its member credit unions and the talent and commitment of its staff and board," said Gentile. "It was a privilege to serve New Jersey credit unions. I look forward to continuing that service on the national level, working alongside Bill and the CUNA team during this critical time for credit unions."

During Gentile's five-year tenure, NJCUL spearheaded a number of initiatives to drive member value. They include the following:

  • Passage of municipal deposit legislation that allows New Jersey credit unions to compete in the state's $15 billion municipal deposits market;
  • Creation of the "Banking You Can Trust" consumer awareness campaign that consistently garners New Jersey one of the nation's highest credit union membership search totals through aSmarterChoice.org;
  • Launch of a cutting-edge new conference format, "Credit Union Reality Check";
  • Leadership of the CUNA/league effort to create a national consumer awareness site, aSmarterChoice.org;
  • Development of an NCUA examination survey, NJ READ, that provides NCUA on-the-ground data on examination practices at credit unions;
  • Implemented a statewide video conferencing education system to change the way credit unions interact and to save travel time and money;
  • Creation of a statewide shared compliance program that brings affordable, on-site compliance support to credit unions; and,
  • Launch of a high-tech videoconferencing system that utilizes satellite sites in the north and the south, along with the centrally located league site, to give CUs a more affordable and accessible way to attain education.
NJCUL's board of directors has appointed a search committee to conduct a nationwide search to find a new CEO.

"We wish Paul all the best and appreciate his contributions to the New Jersey credit union system. We look forward to his work on the national level," said NJCUL Chairman and Garden Savings FCU President/CEO Louis Vetere. "The league will move forward in the best interest of our membership and ensure NJCUL continues to be the powerful advocate that it is today. From our 'Banking You Can Trust' consumer campaign to our growing reputation in Trenton, we are well positioned for the future."

Inside Washington (11/08/2012)

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WASHINGTON (11/9/12)--The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday--the second work day of the post-election, lame duck congressional session -- on Basel III capital and liquidity requirements. Scheduled to testify are Michael S. Gibson, director, Division of Banking Supervision and Regulation of the Federal Reserve; John Lyons, chief national bank examiner, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC); and George French, deputy director of policy, Division of Risk Management Supervision, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. This is the first hearing held by the committee on the plan, released in June by the Federal Reserve Board, the FDIC and the OCC (American Banker Nov. 8). Regulators have received more than 1,000 comment letters regarding the proposed standards …

NCUA budget assessments on November agenda

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (11/9/12)--The 2013 budget, overhead transfer rate (OTR), operating fee scale and projected share insurance and corporate assessments are all on the agenda for the National Credit Union Administration's (NCUA) Nov. 15 open board meeting.

The NCUA's original 2012 budget was set at $236.9 million, but the agency in July reduced its projected 2012 budget by $2 million. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) called this reduction a step in the right direction, and has encouraged the agency to make greater budget cuts.

Last year's OTR was set at 59.3%, and the agency reduced the 2012 operating fee rate for federal credit unions by .90% when compared to 2011's rate. The NCUA in 2012 charged operating fees of $0 for assets up to $500,000 and $100 for assets from $500,001 to $750,000. Operating fees were charged on a sliding scale for credit unions with assets greater than $750,000.

The agency did not charge a National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) premium in 2012.

CUNA Chief Economist Bill Hampel last month said the 2013 Temporary Corporate Credit Union Stabilization Fund (TCCUSF) assessment is likely to be in the range of 5 basis points (bp) to 10 bp. A 2013 TCCUSF assessment of no more than 5 bp "would be sufficient to responsibly make headway on paying down the fund, pending further information on what the ultimate losses will actually be," he said.

The NCUA assessed a 2012 TCCUSF charge of 9.5 bp, and that charge was expected to bring in $790.5 million in funds to help cover the costs of corporate credit union stabilization.

Credit unions have already paid $4.1 billion in TCCUSF assessments, and the NCUA recently reduced the projected cost of corporate credit union stabilization assessments to between $6 billion and $8.9 billion. This represents a $400 million reduction from the previous maximum cost of $9.3 billion.

With the new estimates, they will need to pay between $1.9 billion and $4.8 billion in additional assessments before the stabilization fund expires in 2021. Hampel in recent weeks projected a range of assessment possibilities for the agency and credit unions. (See Nov. 2 News Now story: NCUA reduces TCCUSF high estimate by $400M)

For more on the NCUA board meeting, use the resource link.

CUNA suggests alternative HOEPA coverage trigger

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WASHINGTON (11/9/12)--The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is planning to expand its definition of finance charge for mortgages, and this expanded finance charge definition, if adopted, could subject more credit union loans to additional limits and requirements under the Home Ownership Equity Protection Act (HOEPA)--referred to as "high-cost" loans--the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) said in a comment letter.

Under the CFPB's related finance charge definition proposal, lenders would be required to include most up-front costs associated with a mortgage in the finance charge disclosed to borrowers. Loan charges or fees would need to be included in the finance charge, but late fees, delinquency or default charges, seller's points, some escrow payments and most insurance premiums would not need to be included.

Since the finance charge is a large part of the annual percentage rate (APR) calculation, an expanded definition of "finance charge" would result in an expanded or increased APR. An increase in the APR is likely to cause more mortgage loans to meet or exceed HOEPA's APR coverage thresholds, CUNA Assistant General Counsel Luke Martone noted.

The CFPB has proposed two new thresholds for determining whether a given loan would or would not be subject to HOEPA coverage. The agency will likely choose one of these two thresholds for the final rule.

Martone said CUNA has serious concerns with both alternatives the CFPB has offered, and suggested a third approach that blends elements of the two CFPB approaches.

If adopted by the CFPB in the final rule, the CUNA alternative approach could mitigate for credit unions the unintended increase in HOEPA coverage that would result from an expanded finance charge, he said.

For more on the CFPB HOEPA thresholds, and the CUNA comment letter, use the resource link.

ABBA The Concert kicks off 2013 CUNA GAC

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WASHINGTON (11/9/12)--ABBA tribute band ABBA The Concert will kick off the Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) 2013 Governmental Affairs Conference on Feb. 24 with a dazzling performance of ABBA's iconic hits, including Dancing Queen, Mama Mia, SOS and Take a Chance on Me.

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The 2013 GAC lineup also features NBC News anchor and best-selling author Tom Brokaw and award-winning personal finance journalist and author Jean Chatzky, and more speakers and session topics will be announced in the weeks to come.

ABBA The Concert, featuring Waterloo the band, bills itself as "the best ABBA since ABBA." The tribute group was formed in 1996 and quickly became known for its stunningly ABBA-esque sound and performances. The group has always included two members of the original ABBA rhythm section, and has performed more than 1,000 shows in more than 20 countries worldwide.

CUNA Councils Vice President David Rohn said CUNA Councils is delighted to again sponsor the GAC-opening concert. "Sunday's show promises to be a memorable experience--a concert full of popular hits and high-energy fun that all attendees will enjoy," he added.

The 2013 GAC will run from Feb. 24-28 at the Washington Convention Center. The 2013 GAC theme, Powerful Cause, Positive Effect, reflects the credit union commitment to the 95 million working Americans who rely on credit unions every day.

CUNA's GAC is the credit union movement's premier political event and its largest national conference, each year providing more than 4,000 credit union executives and board members an opportunity to hear influential leaders from Congress, presidential administrations and federal regulatory agencies.

GAC attendees will also have the chance to meet directly with their members of Congress here in Washington.

Recognized as the key conference to attend for political impact, credit union networking and industry updates, the GAC also offers a wide array of educational breakout sessions, the industry's largest exhibitor showcase, guest/family programs to tour Washington's sights, and special entertainment including an opening concert and the closing Gala Reception and Dance.

For more information, follow the @CUNAverse twitter hashtag #CUNAGAC.

Registration is now open for CUNA's GAC, which features presentations by top federal lawmakers and regulators, as well as break-out sessions on key credit union issues.

Use the resource link to register.

Compliance Confiscating counterfeit cash

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WASHINGTON (11/9/12)--The compliance experts at the Credit Union National Association received an interesting question recently: "How should a credit union handle suspected counterfeit currency? Specifically, are credit unions allowed to confiscate it--even when the member insists that we return it?"

Knowing that the answer would be of interest to many, the compliance team featured the answer Thursday on CUNA's go-to compliance resource, CompBlog.

As the letter writer already knew, if a credit union rece4ives counterfeit cash it must file a Suspicious Activity Report--or SAR--under requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act.

But beyond that, the U.S. Secret Service provides this guidance:

  • Do not return counterfeit currency to the passer;
  • Delay the passer if possible;
  • Observe the passer's description, as well as that of any companions, and the license plate numbers of any vehicles used;
  • Contact your local police department or U.S. Secret Service field office. These numbers can be found on the inside front page of your local telephone directory;
  • Write your initials and the date in the white border areas of the suspect note;
  • Limit the handling of the note. Carefully place it in a protective covering, such as an envelope; and,
  • Surrender the note or coin only to a properly identified police officer or a U.S. Secret Service special agent.
For more information go to the U.S. Secret Service website by using the resource link below.

The Secret Service has a "Know Your Money" page that warns: Those who fail to carefully examine the money they receive or who cash checks and bonds without requesting proper identification are potential victims. Only with the public's cooperation can the United States Secret Service reduce and prevent these crimes.

The site is designed to help detect counterfeit currency and guard against forgery loss.