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Washington Archive

Washington

This week in Congress: CUNA-backed CU relief takes center stage

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WASHINGTON (5/6/14)--The U.S. House returns today and, as reported by News Now, it will consider several bills under suspension of the rules, including the CFPB Rural Designation Petition and Correction Act(H.R. 2672), the Credit Union Share Fund Insurance Parity Act (H.R. 3468), and the Capital Access for Small Community Financial Institutions Act of 2013 (H.R. 3584).
 
Use the resource link to read more about these Credit Union National Association-backed bills that will bring regulatory relief to credit unions, if passed.
 
CUNA sent a letter to all members of the House Monday urging passage of the legislation. Regulatory relief for credit unions is a top CUNA legislative and regulatory priority.
 
CUNA also has stated its strong support for additional credit union relief bills to be considered Wednesday at the committee level. The House Financial Services Committee is scheduled to vote on a series of bills, including:
  • The Financial Regulatory Clarity Act (H.R. 4466), which would fight duplicative federal rules;
  • The Portfolio Lending and Mortgage Access Act (H.R. 2673), which would treat mortgages held in portfolio at credit unions and other mortgage lenders as qualified mortgages for purposes of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau mortgage lending rules;
  • The Mortgage Choice Act (H.R. 3211), which addresses some credit union concerns regarding point and fee definitions in the CFPB's amended final "Ability to Repay" rule; and,
  • The Community Institution Mortgage Relief Act (H.R. 4521), which would exempt credit unions under $10 billion in assets from a Dodd-Frank Act requirement that mortgage lenders must hold an escrow account for five years for higher priced, first-lien mortgages secured by borrower's principal dwelling.
The markup could extend over days.
 
Also important to credit unions, the Senate Judiciary Committee has rescheduled its markup on the Patent Transparency and Improvements Act of 2013 (S. 1720), which was postponed last week. CUNA and credit unions are strong proponents of this bill intended to help credit unions and other businesses fight predatory practices of patent "trolls" who manipulate the patent system for their own gain.
 
CUNA also is closely monitoring the Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection and when the Senate Banking Committee reschedules its delayed vote on the bill.
 
Also on CUNA's radar this week:
  • On Wednesday, the Senate Appropriations Committee Homeland Security Subcommittee will hold a hearing on "Investing in Cybersecurity: Understanding Risks and Building Capabilities for the Future" and,
  • The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee Economic Policy Subcommittee will conduct a hearing on "Drivers of Job Creation."
  • On Thursday, the House Homeland Security subcommittee on counterterrorism and intelligence will hold a hearing on "Assessing Persistent and Emerging Cyber Threats to the U.S. Homeland" and
  • The House Financial Services Committee will hold a full committee hearing on the state of the international financial system.
Use the first resource link to access CUNA's most recent letters of support for this week's regulatory relief bills.

Spanish-language NCUA share insurance estimator is available

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (2/6/14)--Spanish speakers who wish to keep track of their share insurance coverage, or who have general questions about share insurance, can get answers from a new Spanish-language version of the National Credit Union Administration's Share Insurance Estimator.
 
The NCUA said it developed the origianl estimator to make it easier for consumers to calculate share insurance coverage and receive immediate answers to questions about share insurance. Users can choose from personal, business and government accounts, and enter the amounts held in those accounts and other related information to determine how much of their total credit union funds are insured by NCUA.

The Share Insurance Estimator was formerly known as the E-Calculator. The tool will also tell members what they can do if their account is not 100% protected.

The Spanish version of the estimator is available at espanol.MyCreditUnion.gov, or at the resource link.

NEW: CU relief bills sail through House vote

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WASHINGTON (5/6/14, UPDATED 5:45 p.m. ET)--Three credit union regulatory relief bills were adopted by the U.S. House this evening. The bills, two of which are stand-alone credit union measures, are all important steps in the Credit Union National Association's larger relief agenda and attack credit union regulatory burden from a number of fronts.
 
CUNA Executive Vice President of Government Affairs John Magill tonight said the significance of the legislative development cannot be overstated. 
 
"It is important for credit unions to note that two of these bills are credit union stand-alone bills. They passed the House on their own merits, not as part of a big roundup of many stakeholders' legislative agendas. Credit unions, the state credit union associations and CUNA have taken their regulatory burden story to Capitol Hill and federal lawmakers are listening to us," Magill noted.
 
He added, "CUNA and credit unions thank House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and House leadership for guiding these bills through House passage at a time when so few bills are seeing congressional action.
 
"We also thank the chairman and other key lawmakers for working so closely with CUNA and credit unions to make this happen."
 
Under suspension of the rules, these CUNA-backed bills were passed:
  • H.R. 3584 , the Capital Access for Small Community Financial Institutions Act, introduced by Reps. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) and Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio). This bill corrects a drafting error in the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) Act thereby allowing state-chartered, privately insured credit unions to join the FHLB system. The change would give 132 privately insured credit unions across the country additional opportunities to provide mortgage credit to their members, CUNA has noted.
  • The Community Institution Mortgage Relief Act (H.R.  3468). Reps. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) introduced this bill to provide National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) coverage for trust accounts,  such as Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTAS) and other similar accounts. CUNA backed this bill as necessary because the National Credit Union Administration has interpreted that the Federal Credit Union Act does not permit it to extend such coverage.  H.R. 3468 would provide parity in the insurance treatment of trust accounts offered by credit unions with the treatment of similar accounts offered by banks.
  • H.R. 2672, which grants credit unions and other lenders greater input into rural-area designations made by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The rural county designations determined by regulators can impact the types of products credit unions may offer their members in those areas and CUNA maintains that any time credit unions can gain an additional opportunity to provide input into the process, they should do so.
When bills are considered under suspension of House rules, it dictates that no amendments can be added during the consideration process and the bills must have enough lawmakers support to pass by a two-thirds vote. 

Prior to this evening's vote, CUNA contacted each member of the House, urging them to pass the three credit union relief bills.Next the Senate must consider these bills.  If adopted in that chamber, the bills move on to the president's desk to be signed into law.
 
CUNA is also a strong proponent of credit union regulatory relief measures that are scheduled for votes by the House Financial Services Committee, starting tomorrow.

Use the resource link to read more on those bills.

CU-backed candidates face challengers in today's N.C. primaries

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WASHINGTON (5/6/14)--The Credit Union National Association and the Carolinas Credit Union League (CCUL) are taking an active role in today's Republican primary elections in North Carolina, throwing support behind candidates in the 3rd, 6th and 7th Congressional Districts.

Dan Schline, senior vice president of association services for CCUL, said that these seats are all in heavily Republican districts, so the winner of the primary is likely to win the seat in November's election.
                                                            
Incumbent Walter Jones, a Republican who co-sponsored the Promoting Lending to America's Small Business Act of 2009, is one such candidate facing a challenger in Tuesday's primary. Jones became was the first North Carolina sponsor of the bill, which aimed to raise the credit union member business lending cap. He represents the state's 3rd District, which includes the areas around the Outer Banks and the Pamlico Sound.

"Walter has been a huge supporter of credit unions in the district while in office, especially with Marine FCU in Jacksonville," Schline said.

The 6th and 7th Districts feature open seats, and the Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC) and the state league have thrown their support behind a candidate in each race.

In the 6th District, which includes portions of Greensboro and Durham, Phil Berger Jr. will face eight challengers for a chance at his party's nomination to the seat currently held by Republican Howard Coble. Coble announced last November that he would retire at the end of his current term.

"Phil has a lot of connections to credit unions in the sixth district, and he has expressed a real appreciation for the services they offer," Schline said.

Politico called Tuesday's primary "the real battle in 2014," when it comes to the heavily Republican 6th District, as whoever wins the Republican primary is favored to take the vacant seat.

In the 7th District, which includes Wilmington and the southern suburbs of Raleigh, former state senator David Rouzer is being supported by CULAC and the league. He faces challenges from two others for the seat held by Republican Rep. Mike McIntyre, who has announced he will not seek re-election.

"David Rouzer was very supportive of credit unions during his time in the state legislature," Schline said.

In a straw poll conducted April 26 at the district convention, Rouzer took 59.8% of the votes.

"We're proud to support candidates who are actively working on behalf of credit unions and understand what they have to offer," said Trey Hawkins, CUNA's vice president of political affairs.

In each primary, the winning candidate must receive at least 40% of the vote. If that number is not reached, a runoff election between the top two candidates will take place July 15.

CULAC has donated the maximum legal amount, $5,000, to each of the three candidates' campaigns. According opensecrets.org, CULAC is one of the top 20 PACs in terms of contributions to candidates, and during 2013-14, donations were split 50-50 among Democratic and Republican candidates.
 
Use the resource links to access the Politico article, the OpenSecrets website, and the straw poll results.

Anti-money laundering compliance is topic of new NCUA webinars

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (4/6/14)--Looking for tips on how your credit union could better comply with federal anti-money laundering (AML) regulations? The National Credit Union Administration will provide an overview of AML issues and how they can be addressed in a pair of upcoming webinars.
 
Both webinars will deal with AML requirements enforced by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)  and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
 
The first webinar, "How to Be in Compliance with OFAC and FinCEN," will be held on May 21 at 2 p.m. (ET).
 
NCUA Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives Training Manager Diane Rector is scheduled to host the webinar, which will also feature commentary from:
  • Adam Maddox, sanctions compliance officer, OFAC;
  • Andrea Sharrin, office of compliance and enforcement director, FinCEN; and
  • Stephanie Brooker, enforcement division associate director, FinCEN.
The webinar will provide an overview of OFAC's and FinCEN's programs, their enforcement authorities and their relationships with other financial services regulators, the NCUA said.
 
The second webinar will take place on June 25 and will cover:
  • Reporting requirements;
  • Emerging money laundering threats; and
  • Tips on how to create an effective AML compliance program.
NCUA Office of Examination and Insurance staff will take part in both webinars.

Participants may submit questions in advance at WebinarQuestions@ncua.gov. The subject line of the email should read, "OFAC and FinCen Compliance Webinar."

To register for the May 21 webinar, use the resource link.