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Inside Washington (05/17/2010)

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* WASHINGTON (5/18/10)--The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) has modified the agenda for its Thursday meeting. One item has been deleted from the previous agenda--the Member Business Loan Waiver Appeal, which was slated to be taken up during a closed session ... * WASHINGTON (5/18/10)--The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued new guidance to make it easier for small businesses to determine whether they are eligible for the new health care tax credit under the Affordable Care Act, and how large of a credit they would receive. The guidance clarifies that small businesses receiving state health care tax credits may still qualify for the full federal tax credit. The guidance allows small businesses to receive the credit not only for regular health insurance but add-on dental and vision coverage. Included in the Affordable Care Act is a small business healthcare tax credit designed to encourage small employers to offer health insurance coverage ... * WASHINGTON (5/18/10)--The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) has selected Lorraine Phillips as director of the Office of Human Resources, which was effective Monday. Phillips joins NCUA after serving as executive director for Human Resource Operations, Programs and Policy at U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Previously, she was director of Human Resources for Headquarters, Department of the Army ...

CUNA CEO Mica to testify today on MBL issue

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WASHINGTON (5/18/10)--Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Dan Mica later today will testify before the House Financial Services Committee during a hearing entitled "Initiatives to Promote Small Business Lending, Jobs and Economic Growth." Mica’s prepared remarks will focus on the Administration’s proposed Small Business Lending Fund Act and the State Small Business Credit Initiative, along with legislation that would increase the credit union member business lending cap. In his remarks, Mica said that “the need for legislation to address the credit crunch facing small businesses is indisputable,” and credit unions “are well aware of the demand for business loans.” The proposed Small Business Lending Fund would provide $30 billion in low-cost capital to small and mid-sized banks and incentives to increase lending. While credit unions would not participate in the fund to serve the financial needs of their members, “if the Federal government intends to invest $30 billion of taxpayer money in the nation’s community banks to spur lending,” then the Congress “should also increase the credit union member business lending cap, permitting credit unions to serve their business-owning members in greater capacity.” CUNA has long advocated for lifting the current 12.25% of assets cap on member business lending, estimating that doing such could result in $10 billion in new funding for small businesses. This new funding could create as many as 108,000 new jobs, CUNA has said. Further, these new jobs would be created at no cost to taxpayers, according to CUNA. “Credit unions are not asking for a bailout and they have not needed bailout money throughout the crisis. They have capital to lend, but the law limits their ability to do so,” Mica adds.

NCUA shutters small N.Y.-based FCU

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (5/18/10)--New York, N.Y.-based Convent FCU has been closed and liquidated, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) announced on Monday. In a release, the NCUA said that it elected to close the credit union, which held $173,000 in assets from 213 members, after it determined that the credit union was “insolvent” and had “no prospects for restoring viable operations.” The NCUA will issue checks to former members of the credit union “within one week.” Seven other federally-backed credit unions have been closed so far this year. For the NCUA release, use the resource link.

Senate reforms could see vote this week

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WASHINGTON (5/18/10)--A final vote on the Senate’s financial regulatory reform package could occur as soon as Friday, with a potential cloture vote taking place on Wednesday. Debate on some remaining amendments should continue through the early part of this week, with Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) expected to offer a manager’s amendment at some point. Sen. Richard Durbin late last week successfully added interchange fee restrictions to the Senate's financial regulatory reform package. The amendment attempts to shield credit unions from the impact of the new interchange rules, but the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) still has concerns about the impact on credit unions. CUNA is working to further mitigate the amendment's effects on credit unions and has already begun making contacts on Capitol Hill. CUNA has also written to oppose an amendment that would impose an arbitrary, 50-cent limit on automatic teller machine (ATM) transactions. And CUNA is opposing an amendment from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) that would permit states to apply usury ceilings based on where the borrower resides rather than where the financial institution is located. CUNA continues to pursue improvements to the legislation in the Senate, and will continue to do so as the bill is conferenced with the House-passed legislation. The House will remain active this week, with a number of hearings scheduled. Top billing this week will go to a Tuesday House Financial Services Committee hearing on "Initiatives to Promote Small Business Lending, Jobs and Economic Growth." CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica will be among those testifying, a list that includes U.S. Treasury official Gene Sperling, Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development Secretary Christian Johansson, and former Securities and Exchange Commissioner Paul Atkins, among others. The House Ways and Means Committee will discuss tax proposals to legislation to legalize Internet Gambling, and the House Financial Services Committee subcommittee on capital markets, insurance and government-sponsored enterprises will close out the week by holding a hearing on "Accounting and Auditing Standards: Pending Proposals and Emerging Issues."