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Senate to vote on CFPB head nomination this week

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WASHINGTON (12/6/11)--The White House has said the Senate will vote this week on Richard Cordray's nomination to become head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the Obama administration added it is aggressively seeking Republican support for his nomination ahead of the hearing.

It is widely reported that the vote would take place on Thursday, Dec. 8.

Cordray's nomination to be CFPB director was approved by the Senate Banking Committee in October, but has stalled since then. Over 40 senators have said they will not vote to confirm any CFPB nominee unless changes to the CFPB are enacted. Those changes include increasing CFPB leadership to a five-member commission and reforming some operational rules.

The CFPB is currently operating under the leadership of Raj Date, associate director of research, markets & regulations, while it waits for a full director.

Fed Reserve announces district chair deputy positions

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WASHINGTON (12/6/11)--The Federal Reserve Board has named the 2012 district chairpersons and deputy chairpersons for its 12 Federal Reserve Banks.

The 12 banks are located in Boston; New York;  Philadelphia; Cleveland;  Richmond, Va.; Atlanta; Chicago; St. Louis; Minneapolis; Kansas City, Mo.; Dallas; and San Francisco. Each bank has a nine-member board of directors. The Federal Reserve appoints three of these directors and designates chairs and deputy-chairs each year.

Kirk Sykes, president of Urban Strategy America Fund L.P., will chair the Boston Fed Bank, with Yale University Sterling Professor of Economics William Nordhaus serving as deputy chair.

William Penn Foundation President Jeremy Nowak will lead the Philadelphia Fed Bank, and The Swarthmore Group Chairman James Nevels will serve as deputy chair.

Energizer Holdings CEO Ward Klein will lead the St. Louis Fed Bank, and Peabody Energy Executive Vice President Sharon Fiehler will serve as deputy chair.

The Minneapolis Fed Bank will be chaired by Mary Brainerd, CEO of HealthPartners, and Pentair Inc. CEO Randall Hogan will serve as deputy chair.

Former USG Corp. Chairman William Foote will again chair the Chicago Fed Bank, with ManpowerGroup CEO Jeffrey Joerres coming in to serve as deputy chair.

Paul DeBruce will also repeat as chair the Kansas City Fed Bank, with Barbara Mowry, CEO of GoreCreek Advisors, serving as deputy chair.

The current chairs and deputy chairs of the New York, Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, Dallas, and San Francisco Fed Banks will remain in their positions for 2012, the Fed said.

For the full release, use the resource link.

House Senate have much to do before adjournment

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WASHINGTON (12/6/11)--Appropriations bills and tax extender legislation are among the items standing between Congress and the holiday recess, but credit unions will also want to watch for hearings on Dodd-Frank Act implementation and private mortgage regulations, among others.

The Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday will discuss the "Continued Oversight on the Implementation of the Wall Street Reform Act," with Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin, Federal Reserve Governor Daniel Tarullo, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro, Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC)  Chairman Martin Gruenberg, and acting Comptroller of the Currency John Walsh scheduled to testify.

The House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee have also set a hearing for today, entitled "Tax Reform and the Tax Treatment of Financial Products." Joint Committee on Taxation chief of staff Thomas Barthold, academics, and industry representatives will testify during that hearing.

The House Financial Services capital markets subcommittee will hold a hearing entitled the "Private Mortgage Market Investment Act, Part 2," on Wednesday.

That committee's financial institutions subcommittee will conduct a Wednesday hearing on enhanced supervision of large, complex financial institutions, with former FDIC Chairperson Sheila Bair among those set to testify.

The full House Financial Services Committee was set to discuss legislation related to examination of depository institutions this week, but that hearing has been postponed until next year. In lieu of that hearing, the committee is expected to hold a hearing Tuesday on H.R. 1148, the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act.

Hearings on cybersecurity and internet domain names have also been scheduled.

A House vote on H.R. 10, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, and a Senate vote on the nomination of Richard Cordray to serve as Consumer Financial Protection Bureau leader may also take place this week. (See related story: Senate to vote on CFPB head nomination this week)

Congress has targeted an adjournment date of Dec. 16, but that date is subject to change. For more on this week's hearings, use the resource link.

CU loans continue increase in October CUNA

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WASHINGTON (12/6/11)--Credit union loans outstanding increased for the seventh straight month, growing by 0.3% in October, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) reported in its analysis of October's monthly sample of credit unions.

This loan increase was led by growth in adjustable-rate mortgages, which increased by 1.3%. Used auto loans increased by 0.6%, unsecured personal loans went up by 0.5%, and credit card loans increased by 0.4%, the CUNA report added. However, new auto loans, fixed-rate mortgages, and home equity loans all decreased, falling by 0.1%, 0.2%, and 0.3%, respectively.

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Credit union loans totaled $581.5 billion in October, compared with $584 billion in the previous month, according to the monthly estimate. (See chart)

Overall, credit unions' capital-to-asset ratio remained at 10% during the month. The total dollar amount of capital was $100 billion. CUNA Chief Economist Bill Hampel said the capital ratio results were "good news, considering that credit unions were accounting for the corporate stabilization expenses in October."

Credit union savings balances fell by 0.1% in October, but money market accounts grew by 0.8% and regular shares increased by 0.4%, CUNA reported. Individual retirement accounts and one-year certificates each decreased by 0.2%, and share drafts went down by 2.8%, the report added. Credit union savings balances increased by 1.3% in September.

The credit union system held $836.4 billion in savings in October 2011, an improvement when compared to the $803.1 billion total recorded this time last year. (See chart)

Credit unions' 60-plus day delinquency rate remained at 1.6%, and the loan-to-savings ratio also held steady at 70%.
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On membership, CUNA estimated credit unions added 441,000 new members in September and October -- roughly equal to 75% of total credit union member growth in all of 2010 and a further indication that consumers made significant movement to credit unions in the weeks prior to Bank Transfer Day. Specifically, credit union membership increased 227,000 in September and 214,000 in October.

CUNA also believes about 400,000 new checking accounts were likely opened by credit union members in October.  The combination of new members In October and new checking accounts from existing members puts the total close to the 650,000 estimated in an earlier CUNA pre-Bank Transfer Day survey, which was intended to provide a rapid response and which CUNA now believes likely drew estimates of both members and new accounts based on credit unions' interpretation of the survey question.

Inside Washington (12/05/2011)

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  • WASHINGTON (12/6/11)--The Treasury Department is pressuring small- and mid-sized financial institutions to unwind its remaining investments in the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). The agency sent a letter to 380 banks advising that it had hired the investment advisory firm, Houlihan Lokey Capital Inc., to pursue the recovery of the remaining $17 billion in TARP investments (American Banker Dec. 5). The government has largely unwound TARP investments to big banks. Even though banks have another two years before the dividend rate on TARP funds increases dramatically, the letter sent a message that banks must begin thinking about how they will divest themselves of the funds, said V. Gerard Comizio, a partner at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP. Large financial institutions tend to have great access to capital than smaller banks. The healthiest small banks may be able to buy back shares, while still-troubled institutions may opt for alternatives such as converting preferred shares to common stock, the Banker said …
  • WASHINGTON (12/6/11)--CUNA Strategic Services provider Agility Recovery Solutions and the U.S. Small Business Administration will host a webinar focusing on best practices to help those in leadership positions navigate the road to recovery after disasters at 2 p.m. Dec. 20.  "Management Obligations during Disaster Recovery" will be presented by Bob Boyd, Agility president/CEO. Boyd will share real-world disaster recovery scenarios and engage participants in a discussion on practical strategies to develop the wisdom and skill needed to become a more resilient leader. A question-and-answer session will follow …