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Washington Archive

Washington

CUNA reminds Congress CUs are lending

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WASHINGTON (12/11/08)—In a follow up to an oversight hearing on the U.S. Treasury Department’s implementation of the Troubled Asset Recovery Program (TARP) Wednesday, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) reminded federal lawmakers that the country’s credit unions continue to lend despite the country’s credit crunch. In a letter, CUNA noted that during the House Financial Services Committee hearing on TARP, several committee members remarked repeatedly that small business owners, homebuyers and other consumers were having difficulty in securing credit because banks, including several recipients of TARP funds, were not making loans. “I want to assure you that credit unions continue to lend, even in these difficult times. Total lending by credit unions continued to rise through October, the latest date on which we have available data,” wrote CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica. He noted that credit union loans outstanding increased 0.5% from September 2008 to October 2008, and 6.6% over the first 10 months of 2008, compared to increases of 0.7% and 5.6% during the same periods last year. “Moreover, through September, the fastest growing type of credit union lending was business lending,” he added. Mica told the lawmakers that the current statutory limit on credit union member business lending, essentially 12.25% of total assets, is far beneath the level of business lending that a healthy credit union could extend in a safe and sound manner. “We encourage Congress to remove the statutory cap on credit union business lending as a mechanism to ensure that your small business owning constituents can continue to access the credit that they need to operate their businesses,” Mica said.

Bob and Lee Woodruff Al Roker at CUNAs 2009 GAC

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WASHINGTON (12/11/08)--Bob Woodruff of ABC News and his wife, Lee, will provide a poignant start to CUNA's 2009 Governmental Affairs Conference as they recall the shattering moment when Woodruff was seriously injured by a roadside bomb when assigned to report U.S. and Iraqi security forces near Taji. The Woodruffs will highlight the GAC's opening general session on Monday, Feb. 23. The GAC is Feb. 22-26 at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. Woodruff will share his memories of the moment when he believed his life was over, and his subsequent stages of recovery. He and his wife will recount stories from his moving and inspirational best-selling memoir, "In an Instant." The Woodruffs' presentation provides a new understanding of the precious nature of life, the strength of family, and how to survive and overcome even the most difficult of circumstances. As the closing GAC speaker on Thursday, Feb. 26, NBC’s Roker, beloved weatherman and host of its Today Show, will bring his charisma and sense of humor to the podium during a talk entitled, "Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella." A 10-time Emmy Award winner, for NBC Roker conducts celebrity interviews, technology updates, and the "Today's Dad" continuing segment, featuring parenting tips for fathers. He also hosts the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, The Rose Bowl Parade, and the Christmas Tree Lighting at Rockefeller Center. Additional highlights of the 2009 GAC include:
* A kickoff concert featuring 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: * Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine, will offer economic outlook and commentary; * Pundits Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala will face off over current economic developments in national news, politics, and world issues; * Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee; and * Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Financial Services subcommittee on financial institutions and consumer credit.
Additional speakers will be announced in coming weeks. CUNA's Governmental Affairs Conference is the credit union movement's premier national conference on Washington issues. For more information on the GAC or to register, use the resource link below.

Mica clarifies corporate CUs position

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WASHINGTON (12/11/08)—Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Dan Mica appeared on Fox Business News Wednesday to help clear up any confusion associated with a federal regulators’ initiative to add liquidity to the corporate credit union system. On Tuesday, National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Chairman Michael Fryzel unveiled his proposal to create the Credit Union System Investment Program (CU SIP) to strengthen corporate credit union liquidity. CUNA’s Mica made it clear that the NCUA plan is not a credit union bailout, but rather a “credit union back-up.” The need for such a back-up was, Mica said, in part created by the "unintended consequences" of other recent government action that backed other types of corporate entities that operate in the open securities markets, but not the corporate credit unions. Mica explained to his national television audience that corporate credit unions operationally must be involved in the securities markets, and some of that finance involved mortgage-backed securities. The CUNA leader made it clear that the portfolios of the corporate credit unions are strong, but he added, they, like everyone else, are being hit by declining values. Mica also emphasized that the 8,000 natural person credit unions that serve 90 million consumers have "insured deposit, strong capital, are making loans and are doing very well." The NCUA also on Tuesday performed a national unveiling of its Credit Union Homeowner Affordability Relief Program (CU HARP). Under CU HARP, credit unions could work with their members to temporarily lower monthly mortgage payments.

Inside Washington (12/10/2008)

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* WASHINGTON (12/11/08)--A report released Tuesday by a consumer group and former Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretaries Jack F. Kemp Jr. and Henry G. Cisneros, recommended the creation of an independent housing agency to prevent housing discrimination and predatory lending (The Washington Post Dec. 9). The report said housing remains segregated and that President-elect Barack Obama should create an Office of Fair Housing to monitor abuse. The office should be created at HUD, an agency that Kemp and Cisneros said does not adequately enforce fair housing rules. For every individual who files a complaint, 150 do not--so although HUD processed 2,500 cases, there are likely four million, the report estimated. Predatory lending also increased because of lacking governmental oversight, it added … * WASHINGTON (12/11/08)—Revamping Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could be more challenging than lawmakers thought, if a Tuesday House Oversight Committee hearing is indicative of the enterprises’ future. Lawmakers disagreed on the primary cause of the housing problem (American Banker Dec. 10). Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said Fannie and Freddie are at the crux of the problem, while Rep. Henry Waxman, House Oversight Committee chairman, said the crisis is larger than the enterprises. Fannie and Freddie’s former chief executives, present at the hearing, also were asked how the enterprises should be revamped. Daniel Mudd, former Fannie CEO, said the enterprise’s mortgage portfolio side may be better regulated by the government, while the guarantee fee side could be handled privately. Lawmakers also expressed their frustration at the executives’ failure to the take responsibility for the enterprises’ downfalls. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) pressed Mudd on risk management. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.), likened the executives’ jobs at Fannie and Freddie as “rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic” without knowing that the ship was sinking …