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Washington Archive

Washington

NEW: NCUA Receives Clean Audits for Permanent Funds

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (UPDATED: 1:30 p.m. ET, 2/19/13)--The National Credit Union Administration announced that all four of its permanent funds received unqualified, or "clean," audit opinions for 2012.

The report covers the NCUA's National Credit union Share Insurance Fund, the Operating Fund, the Central Liquidity Facility and the Community Development Revolving Loan Fund.

KPMG LLP completed the audits of all four permanent funds and expects to issue an opinion on the 2012 financial statements for the Temporary Corporate Credit Union Stabilization Fund in the coming months. The Stabilization Fund earned a clean audit opinion for 2011.

"Diligent stewardship of our funds and public transparency are both top priorities for the agency," NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz said when releasing the report results. She added that the independent auditor's clean opinions "lead me to say with full confidence that we have fully lived up to our commitments to credit unions, credit union members and their communities."

Use the resource link to access the financial reports.

Latino Network Luncheon At GAC Features US Reps Norton, Gallego

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MADISON, Wis. (2/19/13)--The Network of Latino Credit Unions and Professionals (NLCUP) will hold its annual Networking Luncheon Feb. 26 during the Credit Union National Association's Governmental Affairs Conference, with U.S. Reps. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and Pete P. Gallego (D-Texas) as guest speakers.

The luncheon also will feature awards and recognition.  CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney will be presented NLCUP's 2013 Leadership and Vision Award. Murray Williams, chief operating officer of the Iowa Credit Union League, will receive the group's 2013 Leadership and Support Award.

Norton, a credit union supporter who has praised credit unions for being responsible lenders during the financial crisis, is in her 12th term as congresswoman. She is the ranking member of the house subcommittee on economic development, public buildings and emergency management.

She serves on two committees: the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.  Norton was the first woman to chair the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Gallego, representing the 23rd congressional district of Texas, serves on the House Armed Service Committee, which has jurisdiction over defense policy, ongoing military operations, the organization and reform of the Department of Defense and Department of Energy, among others.

In the Texas House of Representatives, Gallego served on the joint House/Senate conference committee on the state budget from 1993 to 2001. He also served as chair of the Mexican-American Legislative Caucus, a group of 43 House members of Mexican-American descent or who serve a significant Mexican-American constituency.

The luncheon, sponsored by CUNA Hispanic Outreach Committee and Coopera Consulting, will be from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET at the Organization of American States (OAS) Hall of the Americas in Washington, D.C.

Events include an 11 a.m. private tour of the historic OAS building, the keynote speech by Holmes Norton, and presentation of awards and recognition. Transportation will be provided by NLCUP to and from The Washington Convention Center beginning at 10:45 a.m.  RSVPs should be sent to Dorothy Steffens at dsteffens@cuna.coop.

CUNA's GAC meets at the Washington Convention Center Feb. 24-28.  For more information, use the links.

Partnerships Could Help CUs Participate In Disclosure Pilot: CUNA

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WASHINGTON (2/19/13)--The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's decision to allow credit unions and other financial services companies to conduct trial consumer disclosure programs is a good move, but credit unions that wish to participate may have operational concerns, the Credit Union National Association said.

Under the program, companies will be able to conduct real-world trials of disclosure alternatives. The CFPB will approve individual companies, on a case-by-case basis, for limited-time exemptions from current federal disclosure laws in order for those companies to research and test informative, cost-effective disclosures.

The companies involved will then share the results of their trial disclosure with the CFPB. The CFPB will use that information to improve its disclosure rules and model forms.

In a CFPB comment letter, CUNA Associate General Counsel Jared Ihrig said CUNA supports the concept of the proposed trial disclosure policy, but maintains concerns as to its operational feasibility for credit unions.

"Given the recent volume of newly finalized mortgage regulations issued by the bureau, many credit unions are understandably overwhelmed by the implementation burdens that lie ahead. Over the coming months, these requirements will cause credit unions to necessarily divert valuable resources to the compliance efforts associated with these new rules, which may also leave fewer resources available to explore and pursue programs such as those under the proposed policy," Ihrig wrote.

CUNA urged the CFPB to allow credit unions to partner with major financial service provider vendors, such as compliance program vendors, in order to provide added resources and collaboration in participating in the trial disclosure program. "These partnerships will allow credit unions and other financial service providers to continue serving their members, while allowing for shared additional resources that could prove extremely beneficial in allowing institutions to fully participate in a trial disclosure program. Without the use of such partnerships, many credit unions will simply not have the resources to allow their full and active participation in any trial disclosure program under the bureau's proposed policy," the comment letter said.

CUNA also encouraged the CFPB monitor the impact of this program to ensure that it does not produce a two-tier system that unduly advantages larger financial service providers, and to avoid developing programs that would favor certain classes of institutions over another.

For the full comment letter, use the resource link.

CDFI Changes, Future Will Be Addressed At GAC Roundtable

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WASHINGTON (2/19/13)--New Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund programs and long-term investment prospects will be among the items addressed at an upcoming Credit Union National Association 2013 Governmental Affairs Conference roundtable.

CUNA and the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions will host the roundtable, which is scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. ET on Feb. 25. Representatives from the CDFI Fund, the U.S. Treasury Department and the federation will speak during the roundtable. The discussion will cover:

  • The long term prospects for the CDFI industry;
  • The newly released regulations for the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program; and
  • Opportunities to demonstrate community development outcomes.
Credit union CEOs will also share best practices and sustainable approaches to leveraging CDFI certification.

"The session is open to all current and potential low-income-designated credit union leaders that have an interest in exploring how to make CDFI Fund investment opportunities work for their credit union," the federation noted in a release.

Privacy Notice Bill Would Cut Consumer Confusion: CUNA

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WASHINGTON (2/19/13)--A bill that would make significant improvements in privacy notices for consumers was just reintroduced in the House. Reps. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) and Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) introduced "The Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act."

The Credit Union National Association supports the bill, which it says would eliminate repetitive privacy notices that are often ignored by consumers. By eliminating a requirement that the notices be sent annually, and requiring them only to be sent when the privacy policy of a financial institution has changed, the notices become more meaningful for consumers, CUNA has stated.

The House unanimously passed an identical bill before the 112th Congress adjourned, but the Senate had not acted on the legislation. Therefore, the bill must be re-introduced for consideration in both chambers this year.

In a letter of support for the privacy notice change, CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney noted to the bill's co-sponsors that consumers are rightfully concerned about the protection of their personal financial information, and it is important for them to understand how their financial institutions handle this information.

However, Cheney warned, under current rules, credit unions alone have sent an estimated one billion annual privacy notifications to members since 2001.

"A recent voter survey indicated that fewer than one-quarter of consumers read the privacy notifications they receive, and over three-quarters of consumers would be more likely to read them if they were only sent when the financial institution changed its policy.

"This suggests that the public policy goal of privacy notifications would be better achieved if the notices had more meaning to consumers. We believe your bill achieves this end," wrote Cheney.

Thursday,  two key pieces of legislation that would enhance the credit union charter were introduced in the House: One bill that would address the credit union member business lending cap, and another to improve credit unions' access to secondary capital. (See Friday's News Now for more on that development.)

Ways & Means Committee Names Republican Subcommittee Members

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WASHINGTON (2/19/13)--House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) has announced Republican subcommittee assignments for his panel for the 113th U.S. Congress.

The oversight subcommittee and the select revenue measures subcommittee will be of most interest to credit unions. The the oversight subcommittee investigates the tax exempt sector, and the select revenue measures subcommittee is in charge of tax reform. Preserving the tax status of credit unions is a top Credit Union National Association priority.

Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.) will lead the subcommittee on oversight, and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) will serve as ranking member. The remaining Republican members of that subcommittee are:

  • Rep. Diane Black (Tenn.);
  • Rep. Lynn Jenkins (Kan.);
  • Rep. Kenny Marchant (Texas);
  • Rep. Tom Reed (N.Y.);
  • Rep. Erik Paulsen (Minn.); and
  • Rep. Mike Kelly (Pa.).
Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) will lead the subcommittee on select revenue measures, with Rep. Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.) serving as ranking member. Marchant, Paulsen and Reed will also serve on that committee. The remaining Republican members of the subcommittee are:

  • Rep. Jim Gerlach (Pa.);
  • Rep. Aaron Schock (Ill.); and
  • Rep. Todd Young (Ind.).
Republican members for the trade, health, human resources and social security subcommittees were also named in the release. Subcommittee leadership and Democratic subcommittee rosters were announced in mid-January.

Camp congratulated the new and returning subcommittee members, adding that his committee "faces a very busy Congress as [it works] to make our economy stronger and healthier so families can find good-paying jobs and afford to save and invest for the future."

For the full release, use the resource link.

The committee last week also announced membership of 11 bipartisan groups that will craft separate areas of a tax code overhaul. The groups will focus on charitable and exempt organizations; debt, equity and capital; education and family benefits; energy; financial services; income and tax distribution; international tax issues; manufacturing; pensions/retirement; real estate; and small business and pass throughs.

Ryan Donovan, CUNA senior vice president of legislative affairs, said these groups include lawmakers with a good understanding of credit union issues and the credit union difference. "Those who understand credit unions and understand the public policy reasons for the credit union tax-exemption also know that it is something to protect for the sake of consumers," he added. (See Feb. 15 News Now story: Ways And Means Groups Include CU-friendly Members, Says CUNA)

House Minority Whip Hoyer Joins GAC Lineup

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WASHINGTON (2/19/13)--House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) will join Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on a high-powered 2013 Credit Union National Association Governmental Affairs Conference lineup.

Hoyer, the second-ranking member of the Democratic leadership, served as House Majority Leader from 2007 until 2011, and has been a member of the House since 1980. He told 2012 GAC attendees he has always been a supporter of the credit union movement, and he praised credit unions for the "remarkable'' role they have played in helping make the middle class's "lives and dreams possible.'' Hoyer's mother was a credit union employee, so the legislator said he learned the importance of credit unions at a young age.

"People live in a more stable and prosperous country because of the work you do,'' he said.

Hoyer will speak in the late morning session on Tuesday, Feb. 26.

Other legislators on the GAC speaking schedule include: Democratic National Committee Chairman and credit union supporter Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), and credit union champions Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.). House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), House Financial Services Committee senior member Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) and Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) are also slated to speak at the 2013 GAC.

CUNA's 2013 GAC will take place Feb. 24-28 at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. This year's GAC theme, "Powerful Cause, Positive Effect," reflects the credit union commitment to the 95 million working Americans who rely on credit unions every day.

For more information, follow the @CUNAverse twitter hashtag #CUNAGAC. Use the resource link to register for the GAC.