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Washington

CU-backed Bonamici wins in Oregon primary

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WASHINGTON (7/14/11)—Suzanne Bonamici (D), a Beaverton, Ore.-based state senator and frequent credit union supporter, will face Republican candidate Rob Cornilles in a Jan. 31 special election to claim the U.S. House seat of former Rep. David Wu (D).

Wu resigned earlier this year.

The Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC) and the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) both backed Bonamici during her primary campaign, which ended when she defeated her main opponent Brad Akavian. Bonamici held 65% of the total vote, with Akavian finishing with 22%, according to State-published, but unofficial poll results released on Wednesday. Cornilles, who sits on a regional Umpqua Bank board, won nearly 73% of total Republican primary votes on Tuesday.

Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Vice President of Political Affairs Trey Hawkins said CUNA and CULAC "are pleased to see that Suzanne Bonamici won her nomination, and look forward to supporting her in the general election. She has been a stalwart for credit unions in the Oregon legislature."

Bonamici is expected to win the fight for Oregon's first congressional district seat. The first district extends from the greater Portland area into Yamhill, Washington, and Columbia counties, as well as the coastal county of Clatsop. It is a largely Democratic district.

NWCUA President Troy Stang said "Oregon credit unions are proud to have been a part of the team that helped Bonamici win the primary election. We know she will be a champion for credit unions in Congress and look forward to supporting her efforts over the next couple of months to become the next Congressperson from the first district."

Hawkins added that CULAC will continue to aggressively support credit union friends in next fall's election. The presidency, congressional seats, and state and local positions are all at stake in 2012.

FannieFreddie SEC on Financial Services hearing agenda

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WASHINGTON (11/10/11)--The House Financial Services Committee is planning to start next week with a discussion of legislation that would suspend pay packages for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives, and will move on to Securities and Exchange Commission-related legislation.

The Fannie/Freddie related legislation, H.R. 1221, will be marked up at 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday. Aside from curbing Fannie and Freddie executive pay, that bill would also subject executives and employees of those government-sponsored enterprises to the federal pay scale.

Committee Chairman Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) noted in a release that taxpayers have paid $170 billion to bail out the GSEs, and 10 of their top executives were recently awarded $12.79 million in bonus pay. "The fact that the top executives of these failed companies are receiving multimillion-dollar pay packages, plus millions more in bonuses, is an added insult to the taxpayers who are forced to foot the bill," Bachus said.

The Tuesday GSE-related markup will be followed by another markup session on legislation that would require the Securities and Exchange Commission to conduct cost-benefit analyses of any new proposed rules. This hearing is set to take place in the House Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee.

Wednesday will see a 2 p.m. House financial institutions subcommittee hearing on the Communities First Act (H.R. 1697), a bill that would loosen some community-bank related regulations. A separate subcommittee hearing on insurance industry regulation is scheduled for earlier in the day.

Finally, the financial institutions and consumer credit subcommittee will mark up the Consumer Rental Purchase Agreement Act (H.R. 1588) and the Common Sense Economic Recovery Act (H.R. 1723) at 10 a.m. ET on Thursday, Nov. 17.

Witness lists for these hearings had not been released as of Wednesday.

Matz hints NCUA 2012 budget may increase--slightly

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (11/10/11)—The National Credit Union Administration's (NCUA) 2012 budget, which is scheduled to be unveiled at next week's November open board meeting, will likely include an increase "in the single digits," NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz said in a Wednesday webinar.

She added that she could not speculate on whether future budgets would increase or decrease, as the agency determines budgets on a year-by-year basis.

Matz stressed that the agency has "spent a great deal of time scrubbing the [2012] budget to eliminate inefficiencies and redundancies." She argued that recent budgetary increases, which have totaled $48 million in 2010 and 2011, have ultimately avoided $1.5 billion in potential National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) losses.

These increases have also allowed the agency to return to 12-month examination cycles matz said, and added there are no plans to allow healthy credit unions to fall under an 18-month examination cycle. The condition of credit unions can change dramatically over a six-month period, Matz said, adding that some of the troubles seen by now-defunct credit unions may not have been as severe if the NCUA had been on a 12-month examination cycle.

NCUA staff confirmed that there will be no National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) assessment in 2011, and said that the agency's goal was for there to be no NCUSIF assessment in 2012 either. Agency staff did, however, say a possible 2012 NCUSIF assessment could be in the range of zero to seven basis points (bp).

Matz added that the worst of the corporate credit union situation "is behind us," and said the agency plans to keep Temporary Corporate Credit Union Stabilization Fund (TCCUSF) assessments in the single digits for the rest of the time they are due.

The 2012 TCCUSF assessment would likely be between eight and 11 bp, but NCUA staff said they would need to reconsider this assessment next year before releasing the final amount to credit unions.

The remaining assessments are expected to total between $1.8 billion and $6.1 billion, the NCUA added. This estimate does include some funds that have been received through recent settlements, but does not include any funds that could be received through legal actions that have been taken against several Wall Street firms that sold mortgage-based securities to the corporates. The agency has requested nearly $2 billion in combined damages from Goldman Sachs, RBS Securities and J.P. Morgan, and said earlier this year that it expects to take an additional five to 10 actions.

Any recoveries from these legal actions would be used to reduce TCCUSF assessments, the NCUA said.

Matz added that the 2012 TCCUSF assessment would be determined at the July open board meeting, and would be mailed out to credit unions in August or September of next year.

Inside Washington (11/09/2011)

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  • WASHINGTON (11/10/11)--Within about the next 10 days Congress must decide if it will increase the maximum size of mortgages backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration. The outcome of its decision is likely to play a key role in the future of the housing finance system (American Banker Nov. 9). Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, one of the groups lobbying for the higher limits, declined to predict whether Congress would raise loan limits. Yun said the limit increase was "dead on arrival" in the Senate earlier this year, but it passed easily. President Barack Obama and House Republicans agreed in September that the conforming loan limit be lowered to $625,000 from a temporary maximum of $729,750. Realtors and other housing groups argue that the lower limit would hurt the housing market …
  • WASHINGTON (11/10/11)--With Veterans Day approaching Friday, the Small Business Administration is highlighting programs intended to help veterans start, grow and expand small businesses. Among them is the Entrepreneurship Boot Camp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV). This year, EBV is expanding to an eighth school, Cornell University. EBV provides training for veterans to start and grow a small business with programs targeted to service-disabled veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and their family caregivers, women veterans, and National Guard and Reserve members and their families. SBA also is providing $2.6 million through a cooperative agreement over three years for two new programs supporting veteran entrepreneurs. The first, Women Veterans Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE), focuses on training, networking and mentorship for women veterans. The three-day, off-site training program, online training and network support structures are delivered in several locations nationwide, serving up to 1,400 female veterans during a 36-month period. The second, Operation Endure and Grow, targets National Guard and Reserve Component members, their families and partners. Its goal is to mitigate the small business economic hardship of deployed members and their families. The eight-week online course focuses on the fundamentals of launching and/or growing a small business for those who will sustain the business if the service member is deployed, injured or killed. For more information, visit www.sba.gov/vets and www.sba.gov/reservists