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Sorgatz to testify on CU business lending

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WASHINGTON (4/29/08)—Carl Sorgatz, president/CEO of Hawthorne CU, Naperville, Ill., is scheduled to testify on behalf of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Wednesday on “The Effect of the Credit Crunch on Small Business Access to Capital." Sorgatz is expected to review for the House Small Business Committee the important role credit unions play through member business loans in stimulating the expansion of small businesses in their communities. Sorgatz also will likely outline the beneficial effect that has generally on the U.S. economy. The hearing is a second in a series being held by Chairman Nydia Velasquez’s (D-N.Y.) small business panel.

House wont vote today on CU bill

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WASHINGTON (4/29/08)—The Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) lobbying team will be on Capitol Hill early Tuesday morning to focus on next steps after learning that a much anticipated Credit Union Regulatory Relief Act (CURRA, H.R. 5519) was pulled from Tuesday’s House voting schedule. Reasons for the House leadership decision to pull the bill were not yet clear, according to CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica. However, he pointed out that the suspension calendar is reserved for noncontroversial measures. CURRA's noncontroversial status changed when the bankers disregarded House leadership wishes and objected to the credit union bill. House leaders had planned to pair the credit union measure with a regulatory relief bill for banks. CUNA and the leagues late Friday and Monday urgently requested that credit unions contact their members of Congress in advance of the expected House vote. “The bankers will sacrifice their own regulatory relief measure simply to ensure credit unions get absolutely nothing from Congress,” said Mica. “This behavior ultimately squeezes working Americans, who now more than ever should benefit from affordable financial services provided by credit unions.” CURRA proposes, among other things, to permit federal credit unions to add service to underserved areas regardless of original field of membership. It would also omit member business loans to underserved areas from counting toward the current cap. However, only the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act (CURIA, H.R. 1537) would address the overall MBL cap and approve a risk-based capital system for credit unions. “We will do our utmost to get CURRA back on the House schedule under regular order, if at all possible,” said Mica. The CUNA leader thanked state leagues and credit unions for their tremendous grassroots efforts in recent days. “Our preliminary reports indicated we would have had a solid victory if this had come to a vote,” he added.

Inside Washington (04/28/2008)

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* WASHINGTON (4/29/09)--From left, CUNA Communication Specialist Marta Trinkl; Paula Moreno, marketing manager, U.S. Senate FCU; and Greta Brown, member service officer, also with Senate FCU share a booth during Financial Literacy Day on Capitol Hill. The event was spearheaded by the Jumpstart Coalition for Financial Literacy and was held to educate members of Congress and their staff about the financial literacy efforts of the participating government, nonprofit and corporate organizations. CUNA also partners with National Endowment for Financial Education to provide free financial education materials to high schools and is a member of the Jumpstart board... * WASHINGTON (4/29/08)--The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) announced that they have fined the New York Branch of United Bank for Africa $15 million each for violating the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). The branch has agreed to pay $15 million of the total amount without admitting or denying the violation. The OCC issued the branch a cease-and-desist order in January 2007. During a November 2007 examination, the agency found that the branch failed to comply with the order’s term, so a second cease-and-desist order was issued Feb. 29 ... * WASHINGTON (4/29/08)--Mortgage lenders are fighting against rules proposed by the Federal Reserve Board to curb lending abuses and prevent more problems in the housing market (The New York Times April 28). Some industry representatives complain the rules would be expensive because they could create more paperwork and make lenders more susceptible to lawsuits. During a comment period this month, the Fed received more than 5,000 comments from lenders who said the rules could be problematic for loans unaffected by the housing crisis. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Community Bankers of America and the American Bankers Association also have criticized the plan. Smaller financial institutions that did not contribute to the mortgage mess have encouraged the Fed to limit the rules to prevent a chilling effect, and Fed Gov. Randall Kroszner said in a speech that the Fed is considering narrowing the scope ... * WASHINGTON (4/29/08)--The Federal Reserve is scheduled Friday to release a proposal that defines unfair and deceptive credit card practices (American Banker April 28). The Fed also is working on Regulation Z revisions for credit card disclosure practices, and a second Regulation Z proposal that coordinates with the deceptive practices proposal could be released ...

Groundbreaking for second Home for veterans

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WASHINGTON (4/29/08)—April began and ended with groundbreaking ceremonies marking the launch of homes for wounded veterans of the Iraq war, in which the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and state credit union representatives participated. The effort is part of the "Homes for Our Troops" initiative and a project of both the Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) ,in Denver, Co., and the Republican National Convention (RNC), in St. Paul, Minn. The National Journal is also a program partner. The plan is to provide specially adapted homes for two severely wounded members of the American armed forces and their families under the auspices of the non-partisan non-profit group, Home for Our Troops. CUNA and league representatives were on hand Monday to start a home for Sgt. Marcus Kuboy. Kuboy was injured in an explosion while patrolling the outskirts of Fallujah. The completed home will be presented to Kuboy in September during the RNC meeting to name the Republican candidate for the 2008b presidential election. Earlier this month, the partner groups started the home that is to presented to wounded Iraq war veteran SSG Travis Strong and family around the 2008 DNCC. Sgt Strong lost both legs as a result of a rocket-propelled grenade attack on his Stryker vehicle.