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Washington Archive

Washington

Inside Washington (06/05/2009)

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* WASHINGTON (6/8/09)--Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) warned banks against gouging consumers with deceptive or excessive checking account fees (Reuters June 4). President Barack Obama last month signed the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act, which aims to reform unfair and deceptive credit card practices. Charging excessive fees on bank accounts is forcing consumers into debt, Dodd said. He did not say if he plans to take any action against banks charging excessive fees ... * WASHINGTON (6/8/09)--Congress needs to draft a bill that would require broad regulation of over-the-counter derivative dealers and markets, including nonstandardized products and municipal rate swaps, said Gary Gensler, Commodity Futures Trading Commission chairman, Thursday. One firm’s derivatives trading activities can hurt the entire financial system, he said. He suggested requiring dealers to meet reporting and record-keeping requirements, including anti-fraud and anti-abuse rules. An audit trail and capital and margin requirements also could be required. Customized derivatives, including rate swaps, could be regulated through the dealer requirements, he said. Senate Agriculture Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) said the committee would take action on the matter this year ... * WASHINGTON (6/8/09)--Herbert Allison, the former Fannie Mae CEO who was nominated to run the Troubled Asset Relief Program, could be approved for the position this week (American Banker June 5). Allison is well-suited for the position, according to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.). The Senate committee could vote Wednesday on Allison’s nomination ...

NCUA update TCCUSGP participation ticks up

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WASHINGTON (6/8/09)--The National Credit Union Administration today announced that all but two corporate credit unions have now elected to participate in NCUA’s revised Temporary Corporate Credit Union Share Guarantee Program (TCCUSGP). The TCCUSGP, which backs up the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund’s (NCUSIF) coverage of all shares, excluding paid-in-capital and membership capital accounts, at corporate credit unions, became effective for Central Corporate Credit Union, Corporate America Credit Union, Kansas Corporate Credit Union, Kentucky Corporate Federal Credit Union, Southeast Corporate Federal Credit Union, and VACORP Federal Credit Union on May 29. In other corporate credit union news, both U.S. Central and Wescorp have been able to fulfill the needs of their members. These credit unions have also continued to communicate their status through conference calls and town hall meetings, and future communication plans are currently in the works. Wescorp held its monthly board meeting this week, and the credit union plans to cut costs by consolidating some of its branch processing facilities over the course of the next year. WesCorp disclosed $7.6 billion in losses in its 2008 and 2007 audited Consolidated Financial Statements released earlier this week. U.S. Central members have created an internal audit group to better address it impairment issues, and a board meeting has been planned for June 23. This week's update on the corporates will be the last for the time being, as NCUA said that it will provide future updates on an as-needed basis.

CUNA seeks CU input on proposed FACT Act changes

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WASHINGTON (6/8/09)--Credit unions are being asked to comment on proposed changes to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions (FACT) Act that would require regulators to define the circumstances under which a report issuer would investigate disputes regarding the accuracy of a credit report. Once adopted by the National Credit Union Administration, the revisions would apply to federally chartered credit unions. Similar provisions adopted by the Federal Trade Commission would apply to state-chartered credit unions. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is asking credit unions to comment specifically on the following issues:
* When and how often do furnishers provide account opening dates to credit bureaus? Would the lack of an account opening date, or other specific information, cause issues for a bureau that is evaluating a consumer’s creditworthiness or compromise the integrity of the information? * Should some credit products or services be exempted from these guidelines? * Would small institutions be affected if furnishers provided more information, such as account opening dates? Should small institutions be approached differently?
Comments on the proposed changes to the FACT Act are requested by CUNA by July 20. To read CUNA's Comment Call, use the link below.

FTC mortgage restriction plan open for comment

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WASHINGTON (6/8/09)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has issued a regulatory comment call on a recent Federal Trade Commission advance notice of proposed rulemaking regarding mortgage loan practices. In the notice, the FTC asks for input on which types of unfair or deceptive acts and practices should be prohibited or restricted during the marketing, origination, and servicing of loans. The FTC has also asked for public comment on how to prevent independent companies that offer loan modification or foreclosure mitigation from engaging in abusive practices. The FTC rules would not apply to federally chartered credit unions, but state-chartered credit unions would be subject to the rules. CUNA is asking for industry comment on whether or not state-chartered credit unions should also be exempted from the potential rules. CUNA has also asked for specific examples of industry practices that should be restricted or banned under the new rules. Comments are due to CUNA by July 21. For more information, use the link.