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Washington Archive

Washington

Inside Washington (12/07/2007)

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* WASHINGTON (12/10/07)--A loan modification bill by Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) could be revised to ease opposition from federal banking regulators, who stated that the bill could trigger problems in the secondary market. Castle stated that he is open to changes, but has not yet decided on how he should proceed. Castle’s legislation would provide protection to loan servicers, who engage in loan modification, from lawsuits. At a House Financial Services Committee hearing, Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan said that Castle’s bill could “create a new field of potential litigation that is more challenging and inhibits loan modification efforts” (American Banker Dec. 7). Sheila Bair, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. chairman, commented that the bill, if passed in its current form, could be in violation of the Constitution. She also said that she was unsure if the bill is even needed, a statement also supported by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) … * ALEXANDRIA, Va. (12/10/07)—National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Vice Chairman Rodney Hood last week said he would “look forward wholeheartedly’ to supporting Michael Fryzel as new chairman of the agency. President George W. Bush announced his intention to nominate Fryzel, an Illinois real estate lawyer and former director of the state's Department of Financial Institutions, to the NCUA board and designate him as chairman. The current chairman’s term expired in August, but JoAnn Johnson said she would remain as the agency’s leader until Fryzel can be nominated and confirmed for the position…

Washingtons top lawmakers signing on for GAC

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WASHINGTON (12/10/07)—Three of Washington’s top lawmakers recently accepted invitations to address the 2008 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference to be held here March 2-6. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) will address the credit union conference on Thursday morning , March 6. House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) are on the schedule Wednesday morning, March 5. As minority whip, Blunt is a key figure in forming his party's responses to current legislation and in coordinating the Republican caucus. He previously has addressed CUNA's GAC in 2007 and 2002. In 1997, his first year in Congress, Blunt co-sponsored the historic CU Membership Access Act, which became law a year later. On bankruptcy reform, Blunt became personally involved in inserting CUNA-supported language protecting credit union members' right to reaffirm their debts. On retirement savings, he helped ensure that CUNA-supported provisions to expand Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), pensions, and Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) were included in the final 2001 tax bill. Rangel, who is serving his 19th term in the House, became chairman of the powerful tax-writing panel, the Ways and Means Committee, in January of this year, after the federal elections established the Democratic party with a slight majority in the House. Rangel succeeded Republican chairman Bill Thomas of California, who in November 2005 conducted a hearing into the tax status of federal credit unions. Rangel spoke out forcefully in support of credit unions at that hearing. Baucus was elected to the Senate in 1978, after two terms in the House of Representatives, and has served consecutive terms ever since. As chairman of the Finance Committee, Baucus was key to the deliberations regarding how financial institutions should treat Social Security and other government benefits when recouping funds or assessing fees in an overdraft situation. Baucus said he preferred a regulatory approach over a legislative one. The federal financial institution regulators, including the NCUA, have since issued guidance. The 2008 GAC will be CUNA’s inaugural event in the new Washington Convention Center. For 30 years, including 2007, the event was hosted at the Washington Hilton & Towers. Also featured on the 2008 GAC program are Gen. Colin Powell, political commentator Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's "Hardball" and NBC's "The Chris Matthews Show," and humorist Dave Barry. New to the GAC this year is an opening kickoff concert Sunday evening, March 2, featuring the band "America" and sponsored by the CUNA Councils. Additional speakers will be announced in coming weeks as they are confirmed. Housing reservation lines opened Nov. 5. Use the link below for more information.

NCUA to look at insurance fund operating level

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (12/10/07)—The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) has scheduled action on the 2008 normal operating level of the National CU Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) at its open board meeting Thursday. In July the agency reviewed the mid-year NCUSIF projections, which showed an estimated 2007 net income of $207 million, an increase of more than $25 million from the previous year. Data showed the fund's equity ratio dropped to 1.27% in June, after remaining at 1.31% for the first quarter and 1.32% for April and May. The agency projected two more months at 1.27% before that ratio would return to 1.31% and better during the September though December period of this year. At that level, the NCUSIF would pay a 2007 dividend. Also on the Dec. 13 open board meeting agenda are the NCUSIF’s investment policy and the NCUA’s five-year strategic plan.