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CUNA sends letter to Frank on Internet gambling bill

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WASHINGTON (5/22/08)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Tuesday sent a letter to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) supporting a bill, H.R. 5767, which would place a moratorium on the implementation of regulation regarding the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). On April 2, Harriet May, CUNA board secretary, testified before the House Financial Services Committee Subcommittee, saying that UIGEA and regulations proposed by the Department of Treasury and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System would impose a set of unreasonable policing requirements that would be difficult for financial institutions to meet. Credit unions could be swamped by the compliance burden associated with UIGEA, May said. Under the Internet gambling law, financial institutions must establish and implement policies and procedures to identify and block restricted transactions or rely on those established by the payments system (News Now April 3). Credit unions fear that they already are burdened with heavy policing responsibilities under the Bank Secrecy Act and Office of Foreign Asset Control rules, she added. CUNA also is concerned that the act would pose technological limitations and statutory ambiguity. “These new burdens would without question divert credit unions from their intended purpose of providing financial services to their members,” wrote CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica in the letter. CUNA does not condone illegal Internet gambling, and does not want to see it continue or grow. However, the statute and implementing proposal represent an inappropriate and overly burdensome regulatory compliance issue that concerns CUNA, Mica added. In the April hearing, May noted that any final rule should:
* Provide a mechanism to verify when a payment transaction is intended for illegal Internet gambling; * Define what is meant in its directive that covered entities address “due diligence"; * Clarify what the due diligence requirements are; and * Provide financial institutions with at least 18 months to determine how to meet the new requirements.
She also said that CUNA supports the Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act, H.R. 2046, which would require Internet gaming businesses to be licensed and pay user fees to the Finance Crimes Enforcement Network.

CU-backed candidate wins Oregon Democratic primary

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WASHINGTON (5/22/08)--A candidate supported by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and the Credit Union Association of Oregon (CUAO) has won the Oregon Democratic primary. Sen. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) Wednesday won the Democratic primary for the 5th Congressional District and will compete to fill the seat that will be left vacant by Rep. Darlene Hooley (D-Ore.) in November. He received the maximum $5,000 from the Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC). Schrader will face a tight, closely fought election in November against Republican Mike Erickson, according to Trey Hawkins, CUNA political director. Hooley has worked on legislation and chaired a task force dealing with identity theft and security issues.

CU House event draws congressional leaders

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House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) spoke at a recent Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee event held at Credit Union House. Also attending the event was Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.)
WASHINGTON (5/22/08)--A May 14 event at Credit Union House in Washington, D.C. brought together a number of congressional leaders and included representation from staff at the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee event was sponsored by the Minority Hotel Owners and Operators, and hosted by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), a member of the House Financial Services Committee. Waters extended her gratitude toward credit union people for having a nice venue that she could use for the event.
(From left) Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) talks with Ryan Donovan, Credit Union National Association vice president of legislative affairs, at a recent Credit Union House event.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) addressed attendees at the event, and also commented positively on Credit Union House. Congressional members present at the event included: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.); House Ways and Means Committee Chair Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.); Rep Joe Crowley, Ways and Means Committee member (D-N.Y.); Rep. Al Green, Financial Services Committee member (D-Texas); Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.); Rep. John Conyers, Judiciary Committee Chairman (D-Mich,); and Delegate Donna Christensen (D-Vt.).
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) addressed attendees at a recent Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee event held at Credit Union House. Pictured are Pelosi and Ryan Donovan, Credit Union National Association vice president of legislative affairs. (Photos provided by the Credit Union National Association)
CUNA was the only group outside of the sponsors present at the event. Ryan Donovan, CUNA vice president of legislative affairs, had a chance to interact with Waters and Hoyer. Trey Hawkins, CUNA political director; and Anne Foley, CUNA political program specialist, also attended. Credit Union House was established by the CUNA and the state leagues in 2001. It was designed, in part, to provide CUNA members with quick access to lawmakers' offices, as well as a home away from home for both work and rest during Hill visits. It also is intended to offer a convenient and inviting place to hold events.

NCUA meeting today to focus on task force report

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (5/22/08)--The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Board is scheduled to consider its Outreach Task Force's recommendations on data collection of membership profiles and services at its open meeting today. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has raised a number of concerns about the data collection, in light of credit unions’ anxieties as to how NCUA would treat the information, according to Mary Dunn, CUNA deputy general counsel. CUNA also has opposed the ability of examiners to micromanage credit unions with the data and has seriously questioned why NCUA must pursue the recommendations during this period of economic and regulatory uncertainty, Dunn added. No official comment period is expected for the data collection item. The board also will consider a proposal regarding the addition of underserved areas for multiple group credit unions. The rule was changed in 2006. “CUNA’s regulatory advocacy group and federal credit union subcommittee will scrutinize the proposal very carefully,” Dunn said. CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica will send a summary of the board’s action to NewsWatch readers shortly after the meeting. For a full NCUA agenda, use the link.

Inside Washington (05/21/2008)

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* ALEXANDRIA, Va. (5/22/08)--The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Tuesday issued orders prohibiting seven individuals from participating in the affairs of a federally insured financial institution. Jason Stewart Dodge, a former employee of now-defunct Huron River Area CU, Ann Arbor, Mich., pleaded no contest to embezzlement and identity theft. He was sentenced to eight months in prison, 36 months probation and was ordered to pay $204,944 in restitution to the credit union. Lisa L. Holmes, former supervisor at Baylands FCU, West Point, Va., pleaded guilty to embezzlement. She was sentenced to serve one year of a 60-year sentence, up to 40 years probation and ordered to pay $37,000 in restitution. Mark E. Kasson, former CEO, Credit Union Group CU, Lawrence, Kan., pleaded guilty to falsifying credit union records and was sentenced to three months in prison followed by two years probation and a $1,000 fine. Credit Union Group CU is now Free State CU. Four individuals consented to the prohibition orders without admitting or denying fault. William A. Hamler III, a former employee of Syracuse (N.Y.) Cooperative FCU; Deanne Hall, a former teller at Nor-Car FCU, Easton, Pa.; Linda Leathersich, former teller at 1st Priority CU, Rochester, N.Y.; and Mark F. LeCain, former president/CEO of Sunshine State CU, Tallahassee, Fla. Violation of a prohibition order is a felony offense punishable by imprisonment and a fine of up to $1 million ... * WASHINGTON (5/22/08)--The Federal Register Wednesday published The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)'s comment request for Federal Housing Administration-Insured Mortgage Loan Servicing of Delinquent, Default and Foreclosure with Service Members Act. Comments are due by July 21 ... * WASHINGTON (5/22/08)--Congressional members are wondering what’s next for a government-sponsored enterprises (GSE) reform bill that the Senate Banking Committee passed with a vote of 19 to 2 yesterday (American Banker May 21). House Democrats have said they are concerned about the differences in their version, which they passed two weeks ago, and the Senate’s version of the bill. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) and ranking Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) created a compromise bill Friday. The final version likely will reflect the Senate bill, according to Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) and Jaret Seiberg, Stanford Group Co. analyst. Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), who developed the compromise--which would make the housing fund created by the bill permanent but would move the fund to cover Federal Housing Administration expenses--noted that it’s too soon to know which version will come out ahead ... * WASHINGTON (5/22/08)--Republican Senators Tuesday said they were worried about a deal that was made between New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac (American Banker May 21). The agreement would create appraisal standards that must be followed by lenders who sell to Fannie and Freddie. Industry groups have supported an amendment that would set the rules at the federal level; however, the amendment was not considered when the Senate Banking Committee approved the measure Tuesday. Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.) and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said they were still examining the issue. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), said Cuomo stepped in where regulation was needed. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) said the appraisal agreement should not be altered without alternate appraisal guidelines ... * WASHINGTON (5/22/08)--The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved a measure introduced by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) that revises the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act. It would prohibit retailers from printing credit card expiration dates or more than five digits of account numbers on receipts (Bloomberg.com May 21). Violators would be subject to fines ranging between $100 to $1,000 ...