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CUNA Fed seek HMDA perspective from CUs

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WASHINGTON (7/9/10)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and the Federal Reserve have asked credit unions to comment on the costs, benefits and privacy issues associated with portions of the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) that require credit unions and others to collect and report data on home mortgage loans, home improvement loans, and applications that do not result in loan originations. The HMDA requires mortgage lenders to provide detailed annual reports of their mortgage lending activity to regulators and the public. The Fed has asked for input on what types of data should be excluded or eliminated, and if any existing data elements should be modified. The Fed has also requested comment on whether some types of institutions or mortgage loans should be excluded from HMDA reporting. The comment call comes ahead of a series of public hearings that will feature a review of HMDA rules. The first hearing will take place on July 15 in Atlanta, with subsequent hearings set to follow on Aug. 5 in San Francisco, Sept. 16 in Chicago, and Sept. 24 in Washington, D.C. American Airlines FCU's Vice President and General Counsel Faith Anderson and State Employees CU Senior Vice President Phil Greer, both of whom were recommended by CUNA, will testify at the Atlanta hearing. After the HMDA hearings, the Fed may issue a plan that incorporates changes addressed in these hearings and comments received.

Cheney tells Senate leaders Banks wrong on CU biz lending

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WASHINGTON (7/9/10)--In a Thursday letter to Senate leaders Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney noted the "stunning hypocrisy" of the banking industry in threatening to "hold hostage" small business lending legislation because it contains a provision to increase the member business lending cap for credit unions. The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) has publicly stated that it would oppose legislation that would help community banks provide an extra $30 billion in loans to small businesses through a government-backed lending fund if that legislation included an amendment that would lift the member business lending cap for credit unions. Cheney decried the ICBA’s “all or nothing” approach, which he emphasized goes against doing what is best for the country’s small businesses. "We believe the focus of the small business legislation should remain on one thing only: ‘What is best for the struggling small businesses across America?’ That is why senators and credit unions support the Udall Amendment to the small business bill," Cheney wrote. That amendment, which was introduced by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) last month, would increase the current MBL cap to 27.5% of assets, creating an estimated $10 billion in new small business funding and over 108,000 new jobs at no cost to taxpayers. "Unfortunately, the ICBA is not focusing on what is best for America’s small businesses," Cheney wrote. Cheney said that by threatening to “hold hostage” the small business lending fund, the ICBA is attempting to “prevent credit unions from providing more credit to small businesses” while also giving up a “significant opportunity to increase community banks’ own lending.” Overall, the ICBA’s opposition is “not in the best interests of America’s small businesses” and does small businesses “a grave disservice.” While the ICBA and others have challenged lifting the MBL cap, Cheney added that “the record reflects that credit unions are experienced in business lending, have a better pay-off record than banks, and need the Udall Amendment to continue their commitment to members with small business needs. For the full letter, use the resource link.

CU input on RESPA required use clarifications needed

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WASHINGTON (7/9/10)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has asked credit unions to comment on a recently released Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) which seeks to clarify current prohibitions against the “required use” of affiliated settlement service providers for residential mortgage transactions under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). The HUD rules aim to address situations in which some homebuyers commit to using a home builder’s affiliated mortgage lender in exchange for construction discounts or discounted upgrades without sufficient opportunity to review the transaction or comparison shop among other lenders. One of the questions asked by CUNA is whether the economic incentives provided in the ANPR would inflate appraisals or lower underwriting standards in the loan market. Credit unions are also asked to comment on whether the home upgrades, settlement discounts, and guaranteed interest rates offered as part of the home purchase process in these situations are illusory, and whether consumers that are offered incentives in these situations would be less likely to comparison shop for these types of settlement services. CUNA has asked that all comments be submitted by Aug. 20. The HUD is accepting comments until Sept.1. For the full comment call, use the resource link.

Inside Washington (07/08/2010)

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* WASHINGTON (7/9/10)--West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin III said Wednesday he would seek a special election to fill a vacant seat in the U.S. Senate left by Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), who died last week. Manchin said he would like the election to be held in November. Last week, the West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant said an appointment to temporarily fill the seat is required, and an election cannot be held until November 2012 (American Banker July 8). Byrd’s death leaves Democrats two votes shy of 60 votes needed to pass the regulatory reform bill ... * WASHINGTON (7/9/10)--Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan notified President Barack Obama Thursday that he plans to leave office Aug. 14 as his five-year term closes. Dugan noted that the condition of the national banking system has improved and it seems likely that failed and failing national banks will be resolved without taxpayer losses. It also seems likely the government will earn a “substantial profit” from the temporary assistance it provided to national banks during the financial crisis, Dugan added ... * WASHINGTON (7/9/10)--The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) will discuss a proposed information-sharing agreement among regulators at its board meeting on Monday. Regulators are required to share more data as part of the regulatory reform bill, which has passed the House (American Banker July 8) ... * WASHINGTON (7/9/10)--Regulators in Washington, D.C., need to clarify future rulemaking that will take place as a part of the regulatory reform bill, said Richard Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, on Wednesday (American Banker July 8.) In an interview with CNBC, he said that there is “too much confusion about what’s going forward” so some people are “hoarding cash” and refraining from hiring ... * WASHINGTON (7/9/10)--The average total “g-fee”--guarantee fee--charged by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on single-family mortgages fell in 2009 to 22 basis points from 25 basis points in 2008, said the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). FHFA’s second annual report on guarantee fees concluded that the decline in total guarantee fees charged by Fannie and Freddie in 2009 resulted from significant improvement in the credit profile of the single-family mortgages they acquired relative to 2008. For mortgages acquired in 2009, Fannie and Freddie set the g-fees at levels sufficient to cover expected costs and to provide a modest capital return. The exception are loans originated under the Home Affordable Refinance Program, which offers the enterprises reduced credit exposure ...