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2011 CUNA GAC kicks off today

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WASHINGTON (2/28/11)--The 2011 edition of the Credit Union National Associations (CUNA) Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC), which will give over 4,000 credit union representatives from across the country access to high profile government speakers and high minded discussion of credit union issues, officially kicks off today. Todays conference program includes CUNA CEO Bill Cheney, Treasury Under Secretary for Domestic Finance Jeffrey Goldstein, and National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Board Chairman Debbie Matz. NCUA Board Member Michael Fryzel, the two authors of the political bestseller Game Change, John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, and Miracle on the Hudson pilot Chesley B. Sully Sullenberger III will also appear later today. CUNA will also hold its 77th Annual General Meeting, the associations yearly business meeting, on Monday, whose guest speaker is actor John Schneider, co-founder with Marie Osmond of Childrens Miracle Network. Speakers later in the week include House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio)the first time a Speaker of the House has addressed a national credit union conference since 1998and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau architect Elizabeth Warren, plus House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) and a video message from Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.). Also appearing on this years lineup will be:
* Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif); * Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.); * Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.); * Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.); * Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho); * Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.); * Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.); * Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio); and * Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo).
The GAC's Tuesday program will feature a political point/counterpoint discussion between liberal media leader Arianna Huffington and conservative commentator Mary Matalin and a panel discussion on corporate credit unions. Breakout sessions on debit interchange, housing finance reform, compliance issues, and credit union advocacy are also on the schedule. The 2011 GAC will be at the Washington Convention Center, its fourth year there since the conference outgrew its long-time locale at the Hilton Washington. Use the resource link below for more GAC information.

30- 15-year mortgage rates drop from recent highs

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WASHINGTON (2/28/11)--Thirty-year fixed-rate mortgages continued their fall from recent highs, averaging 4.95% during the week ended Feb. 24. Those same mortgage rates averaged 5.05% during the week ended Feb. 10, the highest average mortgage rate recorded since April 2010. Thirty-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 5% last week. Freddie Mac Vice President/Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said that the continued reduction was tied to mixed inflation data reports. Fifteen-year fixed rate mortgages also fell during the week, averaging 4.22%.Fifteen-year mortgage rates averaged 4.27% last week and 4. 4% this time last year. Five-year and one-year adjustable rate mortgages (ARM) averaged 3.8% and 3.4%, respectively. Five-year ARMs averaged 4.16% this time last year, while one-year ARMs averaged 4.15%.

Inside Washington (02/25/2011)

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* WASHINGTON (2/28/11)--House Republicans, intent on reigning in spending and calling for less government control, have targeted the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) with several recent measures (CNNMoney.com Feb. 25). Starting July 21, the bureau will regulate credit cards, mortgages and other financial products, including payday loans. In a bill that included more than $60 billion in budget cuts to avoid a government shutdown, lawmakers cut the bureau’s funding from the Federal Reserve to $80 million. The bureau estimates it needs $143 million this year, and the law provides for as much as $500 million when it’s up and running. Rep. Randy Neugebauer, (R-Texas) has proposed a bill to give Congress more oversight of the CFPB by moving it to the Treasury Department. Also, a House Financial Services subcommittee is scheduled for March 16 to discuss oversight of the CFPB, including concerns that the bureau could stifle the flow of credit …

Treasury issues new garnishment procedures

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WASHINGTON (2/28/11)--The U.S. Treasury and several other federal agencies have published for public comment an interim rule that establishes procedures that credit unions must follow when they receive a garnishment order against an account holder who receives certain federal benefit payments by direct deposit. The Office of Personnel Management, the Railroad Retirement Board, the Social Security Administration, and the Department of Veteran Affairs are also listed on the joint release. The rule prohibits the garnishment of certain “protected” benefits, but does not impact garnishments obtained by the United States and child support garnishment orders. Credit unions will still be allowed to process the garnishment against protected funds in these cases. Under the rule, credit unions will need to provide notification to the account holder when a garnishment order is received. The credit union will also need to briefly outline what a garnishment order is and explain the account holder’s rights with regard to garnishment in this notification. The notice will not be required if the account balance is zero or reflects a negative balance on the date of account review. Once they have received the garnishment order, credit unions will generally have two days to perform an account review. This account review must determine the amount of federal benefit payments that have been deposited to the member’s account within the last two months. Credit unions must then ensure that the member has access to this so called “protected” amount or the current balance of the account, whichever is lower. Credit unions may not charge garnishment fee against these protected funds and are prohibited from charging a fee after the date of the account review. However, credit unions may levy garnishment fees against any unprotected funds in the account. The rule is scheduled to come into effect on May 1, and comments will be accepted until May 24. For the proposal, as published in the Federal Register, use the resource link.

CUNA blog offers constant coverage of 2011 GAC

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WASHINGTON (2/28/11)--Up-to-the-minute coverage of the latest news and notes from the Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) 2011 Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC), from its kickoff today to its conclusion on Thursday, will be available on its GAC news blog, CUNA NewsWire. Readers can access NewsWire via a linking button on News Now's headlines page. More than 4,500 credit union representatives are in town for CUNA's premier conference featuring addresses by top policymakers, and more. CUNA Editorial Communication Vice President Lisa McCue, Web Assistant Editor Ron Jooss, and Communications Specialist Darryl Tait will provide the latest news from GAC sessions, including key breakout sessions. For full coverage, read CUNA's daily online news service News Now, keep up with NewsWire, and follow News Now’s twitter feed, NewsNowLiveWire. Find all these news resources on the News Now headlines page at www.cuna.org. Use the resource link below to access the GAC Blog.

Corp. CU chartering rule is effective March 28

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WASHINGTON (2/28/11)--The first updates to corporate credit union chartering rules approved by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) in 30 years go into effect March 28. The rule changes were adopted as an Interpretive Ruling and Policy Statement by the agency at its Feb. 17 open board meeting and set to go into effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, which has now occurred. The regulator's interpretation not only describes the requirements for charter applicants, it also includes the NCUA's standards for reviewing the feasibility of a new corporate charter. While the final IRPS largely reflects the proposed guidance issued by the NCUA last September, there were a few changes made based on comments submitted by the Credit Union National Association and others. Use the resource links below to view the NCUA IRPS and CUNA's complete comment on the proposed statement.