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CU participation in HOPE NOW encouraged

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (3/18/08)—The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) is encouraging federally insured credit unions servicing securitized subprime adjustable rate residential mortgages to utilize the HOPE NOW alliance’s loan modification standards to report foreclosure prevention efforts. HOPE NOW is an alliance of major mortgage servicers, mortgage counselors, government officials and non-profit groups intended to develop strengthened efforts to help struggling homeowners keep their homes. It was formed under the direction of the Treasury Department in October 2007. In a letter to federal credit unions (Letter No. 08-CU-05), NCUA Chairman JoAnn Johnson wrote that the HOPE NOW reporting format will assist industry efforts of measuring foreclosure prevention activity by standardizing data fields regarding modifications of subprime adjustable rate residential real estate loans. Further, she said, it will help to foster more transparency throughout the securitization market as the financial industry moves forward collectively through this current mortgage crisis. “The NCUA supports the data collection efforts related to the HOPE NOW alliance and believes prudent workout arrangements are generally in the long-term best interest of both the credit union and the borrower,” the letter said. Johnson added that her agency also encourages federally insured state-chartered credit unions to be responsive to other data and information requests designed to track loss mitigation efforts. She said those efforts include the State Foreclosure Prevention Working Group, formed in the summer of 2007 by the offices of 37 state attorneys general and several state banking regulators to encourage solutions to the growing foreclosure crisis.

Compliance Issues from risk Assessment to reg Z

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WASHINGTON (3/18/08)—Credit union compliance experts have readers humming “The Alphabet Song” in the March issue of Credit Union Magazine, as they provide a complete A through Z guide of 2008 compliance issues. With only one noticeable cheat – “K” is for “Kongress” –the article explores a wide range of regulatory developments, examiner concerns, and potential congressional action that will affect credit union operations this year. From “Assessment of Risk” to “Regulation Z,” the article brings credit unions up to date on the most important compliance issues credit unions will face this year—including Bank Secrecy Act, foreclosure, mortgage reform and unrelated business income tax challenges. Use the resource link below to access the article authored by Kathy Thompson, senior vice president, compliance and legislative analysis, and associate general counsel; Mike McLain, assistant general counsel; Valerie Moss, director of compliance information; Nichole Seabron, federal compliance counsel; and Paulette Young, regulatory affairs specialist.

Credit unions stand firm No CRA requirements

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WASHINGTON (3/18/08)—Credit unions meet the financial needs of the broad spectrum of people that fall within their fields of membership, and they play an active role in community development and growth. Therefore, it is unnecessary to impose another layer of regulatory burden through Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) requirements, asserted President/CEO Dan Mica of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) broached the topic of CRA last week in an article in CongressDaily. Frank, who conducted a 30-year anniversary hearing on CRA Feb. 13, acknowledged that interest among lawmakers for taking on any type of expansion of CRA this year has dwindled.. Yet, he said the committee will look again next year at the “CRA-credit union issue.” CUNA’s Mica said, “Chairman Frank has himself said that if every financial institution were similar to a credit union, CRA would be unnecessary. With that in mind, we continue to believe that CRA is unnecessary for credit unions, and CUNA remains opposed to including credit unions under provisions of CRA.” Mica added, “By their nature and mission of ‘people helping people,’ credit unions already meet the financial needs of a broad spectrum of people that fall within their fields of membership, and play an active role in community development and growth. Therefore, credit unions should not be subject to burdensome regulatory requirements when they are already meeting and exceeding the intent behind CRA.”

Inside Washington (03/17/2008)

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* WASHINGTON (3/18/08)--Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) yesterday joined Reps. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) and Donald Payne (D-N.J.), state-elected officials and housing advocates to tour North Minneapolis areas devastated due to the foreclosure crisis. Following the tour, the delegation was scheduled to meet to discuss legislative and executive responses to the crisis ... * WASHINGTON (3/18/08)--The Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund has announced the launch of a free e-mail subscription management service. Designed “to keep the community development finance industry, the media and the public informed of news and important updates from the CDFI Fund,” the service is called CDFI Updates. It provides new information on topics ranging from: new press releases and speeches by CDFI Fund officials, to CDFI Fund’s programs, such as the opening of a new program round or an update to a Frequently Ask Questions document. It will also alert subscribers to the release of CDFI Fund publications, among other things…. * ALEXANDRIA, Va. (3/18/08)—The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) has posted to its website the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) that came out of board member Gigi Hyland’s “Key Examination Issues webinar” on Jan. 29. “I appreciate the high level of response and insightful questions asked during the Webinar, which will help credit unions remain informed on the most current safety and soundness issues, including effective risk assessment, planning, and due diligence relating to third-party vendors, which we addressed throughout this online discussion,” stated Hyland in announcing the FAQ’s online availability… * WASHINGTON (3/18/08)--The largest delegation ever from Maine’s credit unions gathered with the state’s congressional delegation for the Maine Credit Union League (MCUL)’s annual breakfast on Capitol Hill March 4. Sens. Olympia Snowe (R) and Susan Collins (R), along with Rep. Michael Michaud (D) and an aide from Rep. Tom Allen (D)’s office attended the breakfast. All recognized Maine credit unions’ commitment to the financial well-being of Maine consumers and applauded the credit unions for being responsible lenders. From left are MCUL President John Murphy and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) during the breakfast. (Photo provided by the Maine Credit Union League) ...