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Fed reveals 2012 FOMC meeting schedule

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WASHINGTON (3/28/11)--The Federal Reserve on Friday announced the tentative 2012 meeting schedule for its Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). The FOMC holds eight regularly scheduled meetings per year, at which the panel reviews economic and financial conditions, determines the appropriate stance of monetary policy, and assesses the risks to its long-run goals of price stability and sustainable economic growth. The meetings will take place on the following dates:
* January 24-25 (Tuesday-Wednesday); * March 13 (Tuesday); * April 24-25 (Tuesday-Wednesday); * June 19-20 (Tuesday-Wednesday); * July 31 (Tuesday); * September 12 (Wednesday); * October 23-24 (Tuesday-Wednesday); * December 11 (Tuesday); and * January 29-30, 2013 (Tuesday-Wednesday).
The FOMC consists of twelve members--the seven members of the Fed board; the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; and four of the remaining eleven Reserve Bank presidents, who serve one-year terms on a rotating basis.

FASB credit impairment comments due today

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WASHINGTON (3/28/11)--Credit unions that wish to comment on the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (FASB) proposed accounting standards update on accounting for financial instruments must do so by the end of the day. FASB has proposed a number of significant changes to accounting for most financial assets and liabilities. Changes to the accounting standards on credit impairment are among those proposed by FASB. Under FASB’s proposal, entities would need to base expected losses on all available information—including forward-looking information. The proposal would also require an entity to determine an impairment allowance by assigning financial assets to a “bad book” or “good book,” depending on the degree of uncertainty about the collectability of the assets’ cash flows. CUNA has asked credit unions for input on whether or not FASB’s proposed approach for recognition of impairment addresses the issue of delayed recognition of expected credit losses. CUNA has also requested more general comment on whether or not FASB’s proposed approach would provide information that is useful for decision-making. FASB will assess the comments and could incorporate suggestions into their work as they attempt to create a convergent standard on accounting for impairment of financial assets. FASB has said that it will issue a final accounting standards update on accounting for financial instruments, including the credit impairment model, later in 2011. For the CUNA comment call, use the resource link.

Fed extends TILA Consumer Leasing Act

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WASHINGTON (3/28/11)--The Federal Reserve on Friday officially approved amendments to Regulation Z and Regulation M that would expand consumer protection rules to address credit transactions and high-value leases. The Fed amendments implement portions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act. The amendments will become effective on July 21. The new rule will increase the threshold for exempt consumer credit transactions under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA)/Regulation Z from $25,000 to $50,000. The threshold for leases under the Consumer Leasing Act (CLA) and Regulation M will be increased to the same level. These thresholds will be adjusted annually starting on Dec. 31. Consumer credit transactions of up to $25,000 are currently subject to several disclosure requirements under TILA and Regulation Z. Private education loans and loans secured by real property, such as mortgages, are subject to TILA regardless of the amount of the loan. Regulation Z implements the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA) by adjusting the thresholds used to determine which loans are covered under HOEPA. The CLA requires lessors to provide consumers with disclosures regarding the cost and other terms of personal property leases, such as an automobile lease. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) in a pair of comment letters issued earlier this year urged the Fed to minimize the regulatory burdens associated with the proposal, particularly for small credit unions. CUNA has noted that the final regulations show some improvements compared to the proposed rules, such as allowing an initial extension of consumer credit to be made after account opening. This change was suggestd in CUNA's comment letters.

Compliance Should all MLOs ID themselves

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WASHINGTON (3/28/11)--Should all mortgage loan originators (MLOs) that take part in a particular residential mortgage loan provide their Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System & Registry (NMLS) identification number on a member’s loan application? The Credit Union National Association, in this month’s Compliance Challenge, says yes. All MLO identification numbers should be provided, no matter how many originators have worked on a given loan application. The identification number is assigned to an MLO once they register with the NMLS, and is used to track the MLO and to allow public access to the MLO’s employment history. The identification number can also be used to track any disciplinary or enforcement actions that have been initiated against the individual. The identification number will remain the same, even if an MLO changes employment, moves, or changes his or her name, CUNA noted. The Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act (SAFE Act) requires credit union mortgage loan originators and their employing institutions to register with the NMLS. The NMLS became active on earlier this year, and the initial registration period will run until July 29. For more of this month’s Compliance Challenge, use the resource link.

Inside Washington (03/25/2011)

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* WASHINGTON (3/28/11)--Lawmakers intent on limiting the authority of the newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau should instead focus big Wall Street players that threaten the agency’s mission, Elizabeth Warren, the administration’s point person on CFPB, told Bloomberg News (March 25). Republican lawmakers have complained that the CFPB, created by the Dodd-Frank Act, lacks accountability. Republicans have proposed that the bureau’s budget be approved by Congress and it’s director position be replaced with a five-member commission. But Warren said worries about an agency that speaks up for consumers in the wake of the financial crisis is misguided. Dodd-Frank stipulates that funding for the CFPB be set as a percentage of the Federal Reserve’s operating budget, which could be as much as $500 million annually. Putting its budget into the appropriations debate would discourage examiners from making decisions that are unsuitable to big banks, Warren said … * WASHINGTON (3/28/11)--Fannie Mae was warned in a 2006 internal report of abuses about how lenders and their law firms handles foreclosures, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. The report said foreclosure attorneys in Florida had “routinely made” false statements in court to process foreclosures faster, The Wall Street Journal reported. Fannie Mae officials were under the impression that foreclosure counsel were “sacrificing accuracy for speed" but did not name any law firms, the Journal said. The report found no evidence that borrowers were improperly placed in foreclosure…