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N.C., S.C. Leagues, CUs Kick Off 2013 Hill Hike Advocacy

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WASHINGTON (5/14/13)--Credit union leaders from North Carolina and South Carolina this week will kick off Spring advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill. These visits come at a vital time for credit unions, as tax reform and regulatory relief are on the minds of many in Congress.

"These groups continue to show the credit union commitment to advocacy. North Carolina and South Carolina credit unions have been some of the most frequent visitors in the 15 years of the Hike the Hill program," Credit Union National Association Senior Vice President of Political Affairs Richard Gose said.

Both groups said communicating credit unions' positive impact on their communities and membership will be their highest priority. The hikers will also target congressional support for legislation to increase the member business lending cap,  enhanced supplemental capital access, and other credit union priorities during their visits.

North Carolina Credit Union League staff will be accompanied by representatives from Raleigh's Coastal FCU and Local Government FCU; Waynesville's Mountain CU; Winston Salem's Allegacy FCU and Winston-Salem FCU; Charlotte Metro FCU; and Salisbury's Lion's Share FCU.

The South Carolina Credit Union League  group will include representatives from Hartsville's SPC CU, Charleston's Heritage Trust FCU; Palmetto Cooperative Services; Greenville's SC Telco FCU and Greenville FCU; and Sumter's SAFE FCU.

Both groups will also meet with National Credit Union Administration Deputy Director of Examination and Insurance Tim Segerson and attend the NCUA's Thursday open board meeting.

Credit union representatives from Oregon, Washington and Missouri have planned late May hikes. Michigan, Texas, Wisconsin and Arkansas credit union groups are scheduled to visit Washington in June.

CUNA Treasury Comments, CFPB News Lead Reg Advocacy Report

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WASHINGTON (5/14/13)--Credit Union National Association comments on Bank Secrecy Act burdens are one of many topics tackled in this week's edition of the Regulatory Advocacy Report.

CUNA has called for reduced credit union regulatory burdens during recent U.S. Treasury Bank Secrecy Act Advisory Group (BSAAG) meetings. CUNA has also suggested that BSAAG promote more efficient Bank Secrecy Act rules.

The BSAAG is comprised of representatives from federal regulatory and law enforcement agencies, financial institutions, and trade associations. The group makes BSA policy recommendations to the U.S. Treasury Secretary.

CUNA has been a member of BSAAG since 2003, and is scheduled to fill the Credit Union Industry Trade Group position on the advisory group through February 2015. CUNA also participates on the parent group and its working subgroups, including the Banking, Law Enforcement, Prepaid Access, and Suspicious Activity Report Review subcommittees.

Recent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau developments detailed in this week's Regulatory Advocacy Report include:

  • The recent proposal of a credit insurance premium effective date delay;
  • Details on a CFPB private student loan report and how the CFPB may address the student loan issue going forward;
  • Proposed clarifications of the ability-to-repay/qualified mortgage and mortgage servicing rules; and
  • The elimination of a restrictive independent ability-to-pay assessment requirement.
Recent Federal Housing Finance Agency actions, and the impact that high profits from government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could have on housing reform talks, are also discussed in this week's report. Handy CUNA regulatory advocacy resource charts are also provided.

Employees or volunteers of CUNA and state credit union league member credit unions can sign up below to receive the Regulatory Advocacy Report.

The Regulatory Advocacy Report is archived on cuna.org.

This Week: Housing, Small Biz Issues Hit Hearing Spotlight

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WASHINGTON (5/14/13)--A host of hearings on housing issues, Too Big To Fail banks, small businesses and general tax issues highlight what should be another busy week for U.S. House and Senate financial services committees.

Today the Senate Banking securities insurance and investment subcommittee will discuss returning private capital to mortgage markets. A mix of industry experts and academics is scheduled to testify.

Wednesday hearings include:

  • A House Financial Services oversight and investigations subcommittee hearing entitled "Who Is Too Big to Fail: Does Title II of the Dodd-Frank Act Enshrine Taxpayer-Funded Bailouts?";
  • A House Ways and Means select revenue measures subcommittee hearing on the discussion draft of "Small Business and Pass-through Entity Tax Reform";
  • A House Small Business Committee hearing entitled "Patent Reform Implementation and New Challenges for Small Businesses"; and
  • A Senate Banking securities, insurance and investment subcommittee hearing on the impact of cross-border bank resolution on taxes and the economy.
Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Office of Complex Financial Institutions Director Jim Wigand, Federal Reserve Division of Banking Supervision and Regulation Director Michael Gibson and U.S. Department of the Treasury Office of International Banking and Securities Markets Director William Murden are scheduled to testify during that hearing.

The House Financial Services Committee on Thursday will hold an oversight hearing on the Securities and Exchange Commission. That body's subcommittee on housing and insurance will also hold a hearing entitled "Sustainable Housing Finance: The Government's Role in Multifamily and Heath Care Facilities Mortgage Insurance and Reserve Mortgages" on that same date.

CUNA's Gentile Notes CU Structure Benefits In LSCU Podcast

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WASHINGTON (5/14/13)--"The banks may have more money...but what they don't have is the cooperative nature of credit unions," Credit Union National Association Executive Vice President of Strategic Communications and Engagement Paul Gentile said in a new League of Southeastern Credit Unions and Affiliates (LSCU) podcast.

Cooperative effort is at the heart of CUNA's Unite for Good rallying cry for credit unions, which calls upon credit unions to work toward a movement-wide strategic vision in which "Americans Choose Credit Unions as Their Best Financial Partner," Gentile told LSCU Vice President of Communications Mike Bridges in the podcast

Collaborating to remove barriers, raise awareness and foster service excellence are the three major goals of the Unite for Good effort. CUNA has suggested several steps credit unions can take to achieve each of these goals. Unite for Good has a full arsenal of resources to help credit unions spread their positive message, he said.

However, he said, the No. 1 key for credit unions right now is to go to their membership and tell them the value of the credit union tax status. "With the tax fight that's brewing, we want members to understand the value of the credit union structure," Gentile said.

Whether in financial services or other industries, being the smaller guy and not being the "king of the mountain" has its advantages, he noted.

Larger institutions, no matter the industry, can find it harder to be creative and are not as flexible as their smaller counterparts, he emphasized. "Credit unions...want to get mainstream, but we should also embrace the flexibility we have with our marketplace. You can't be everything to everybody, but if you can find a niche in your area ...that's powerful," Gentile said.

Looking at local niche areas can help credit unions "drum up lending until some of the more mainstream markets come back," Gentile said. Private student loans and loans that are intended to help homeowners better their energy efficiency through structural improvements are two examples of niche products that can help credit unions expand their lending portfolios.

Another way credit unions can make their presence felt is by reaching out to their membership. Credit unions can grow from within if they speak to their 96 million members and tell their own story within their own membership, Gentile said.

For the full podcast interview, use the resource link.