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New RegFlex plan a good one says CUNA

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WASHINGTON (12/4/08)—The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) endorsed a plan under the Regulatory Flexibility Program (RegFlex) that would allow well-run credit unions additional time to occupy properties bought in an unimproved state. Currently, when a federal credit union acquires unimproved land for future expansion and does not fully occupy the completed premises within one year, it must partially occupy the property within three years or obtain a waiver. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) proposed a plan in September that would allow the highly ranked Reg-Flex federal credit unions to have up to six years without seeking a waiver. “We believe this change is reasonable and will assist well-run credit unions in managing their fixed-asset portfolios,” said in a Dec. 1 CUNA comment letter. “We also agree that federal credit unions should retain their ability to request a waiver of the partial occupancy requirement under the fixed assets rule,” CUNA added. Use the resource link below to access the CUNA letter.

FHFA Foreclosure mitigation has room for improvement

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WASHINGTON (12/4/08)—The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has submitted its first mandated report to the U.S. Congress detailing actions the agency is taking to prevent unnecessary mortgage foreclosures. The 2008 Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (EESA) directed the FHFA, as a federal property manager, to develop and implement ways to maximize assistance to homeowners and to encourage servicers of underlying mortgages to take advantage of programs to minimize foreclosures. The FHFA is a designated FPM because in September it became conservator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The first report to Congress covers the 60 days since enactment of EESA, but subsequent reports will be submitted on a monthly basis. In a letter to Congress, FHFA Director James Lockhart detailed the streamlined loan modification program (SMP) announced last month. Also submitted for review were FHFA’s monthly Foreclosure Prevention Report, quarterly Mortgage Metrics Report, and the Agency’s Plan to Maximize Assistance for Homeowners and Minimize Foreclosures. Lockhart wrote, “The streamlined modification program is meant to reach as many seriously delinquent borrowers as possible to give them a chance to save their homes and begin restoring their credit.” The FHFA further described the letter to federal lawmakers as describing the the unified effort of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, private lenders and servicers, FHFA, the U.S. Treasury Department and Federal Housing Administration (FHA). However, Lockhart noted that the August Foreclosure Prevention Report indicated a need for the government-sponsored housing enterprises to adopt more aggressive loan modification and foreclosure prevention activities. The FHFA noted that the number of foreclosures completed in August 2008 was 15,528, which is above 2008 YTD monthly average. The number of loan modification was 4,402, which was below the 2008 YTD monthly average of 4,959. Use the resource link below to access the agency report.

Inside Washington (12/03/2008)

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* WASHINGTON (12/4/08)--A notice of prohibition from the National Credit Union Administration contained erroneous information, according to David Wright, manager of WIT FCU, Rochester, N.Y. An article about the notice published Nov. 13 said that Josette L. Williamson was convicted of petit larceny in connection with the failure of the credit union. However, the credit union did not fail, said Wright. "We're alive and kicking," he told News Now. Williamson repaid the money to the credit union and was ordered to perform 120 hours of community service … * ALEXANDRIA, Va. (12/4/08)—The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) touted board member Gigi Hyland’s recent participation on Home & Family Finance Radio, a weekly radio show offering
NCUA board member Gigi Hyland told consumer listeners about share insurance's benefits on a recent Home & Family Finance Radio Show. (Photo provided by CUNA)
helpful information and consumer finance advice, which is sponsored by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). In a recent release, the NCUA noted that in the Nov. 12 interview Hyland focused on recent changes to federal share insurance coverage and how the economy is affecting credit unions. For instance, the NCUA board member advised that consumers should review their accounts and work with their institutions to ensure they obtain the maximum amount of insurance coverage permitted. She also promoted awareness that accounts at federally insured credit unions have insurance coverage of $250,000 through Dec. 31, 2009. Hyland also urged consumers to visit the NCUA Share Insurance Tool Kit located on the NCUA website… * WASHINGTON (12/4/08)—The U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund released a report on New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) program projects funded through 2007. In its announcement of its fifth round of NMTC recipients, the CDFI said that through the FY 2007 reporting period Community Development Entities (CDEs) had disbursed almost $9 billion in Qualified Equity Investments (QEIs). The proceeds went to 1,981 different Qualified Active Low-Income Community Businesses (QALICBs) and were used to finance both real estate developments and operating businesses in low-income communities. The NMTC program was created by the Community Renewal Tax Relief Act of 2000 to promote economic development in low-income communities. The CDEs pass the tax credit on to investors. As not-for-profit entities, credit unions must have a plan for creating a for-profit subsidiary and to transfer the allocations to those subsidiaries in order to be eligible to apply for an NMTC allocation…

CUNAs Mica meets with Obama transition team

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WASHINGTON (12/4/08)--U.S. President-elect Barack Obama’s Transition Team turned its attention to credit unions Wednesday when transition representatives met with Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Dan Mica and senior staff in Washington. Obama’s Transition Team is reviewing all federal agencies, including the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). The team's members include former NCUA Board Member Debbie Matz; Scott Wallsten, economics professor at Stanford University; and Gregory Rosston, who is the team leader and deputy director of economic policy research also at Stanford. Among the credit union topics discussed during Wednesday’s meeting, according to Mica:
* The distinct characteristics of credit unions and the overall solid condition of the credit union system; * The need for a strong, independent NCUA Board; * How supplemental capital authority could benefit the credit union system; * How lifting the member business loan (MBL) statutory cap would further the new president's goals to increase the number of jobs created within the small business community; * The need for Treasury to be unbiased about credit unions; and * Why credit unions that need it should have access to assistance either through NCUA or Treasury.
The group also discussed the condition of corporate credit unions, fair value accounting, and examination issues. Mica said Obama’s Transition representatives appeared to have a good understanding of credit unions and NCUA. “They raised a number of questions to which we responded,” said Mica. “We also provided several background materials on facts about the credit union system and issues we are facing.” Mica said CUNA will follow up with the Obama Transition Team during the next few weeks. Afterward, the Transition Team will provide to the Obama Administration a confidential report reflecting views from CUNA and others, he added.