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Inside Washington (08/12/2008)

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* ALEXANDRIA, Va. (8/13/08)-- National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Chairman Michael Fryzel (left) welcomed Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President Dan Mica for an initial meeting Monday at agency headquarters here. “As the regulator charged with ensuring the safety and soundness of the nation’s federal credit unions, I appreciate the important role that CUNA and all trade organizations play within the credit union industry,” Fryzel said. “The services offered and training CUNA provides have been an integral part of the federal credit union system since the 1934 inception of both NCUA and CUNA. I look forward to an eventful 2009, as we celebrate 75 years of regulating and serving federally chartered credit unions.” (Photo provided by the National Credit Union Administration) ... * WASHINGTON (8/13/08)--About 44% of senior loan officers who responded to a recent Federal Reserve Board survey said they expect to securitize or sell conforming-jumbo mortgage loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The other 44% said they did not expect to securitize or sell such loans, while 12% said they did not expect to originate any of those loans. Senior loan officers at 52 domestic banks and 21 U.S. branches and agencies of foreign banks were surveyed. Fifty officers responded to the question regarding conforming-jumbo mortgage loans. Of the banks who said they would sell or securitize such loans, 16 were large banks. Fannie and Freddie reported second-quarter losses of $2.3 billion and $821 million, respectively (News Now Aug. 12) ... * WASHINGTON (8/13/08)--Senate Banking Committee leaders are pushing the Farm Credit Administration (FCA) to drop a proposed rule that would allow lenders in the Farm Credit System to invest 150% of their capital in projects for rural communities with 50,000 people or fewer (American Banker Aug. 12). The rule also would allow lenders to invest in rural-area venture capital firms. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) wrote a letter to the FCA saying the proposed rule is too broad. Congress also should determine if the system should be expanded, given the credit crisis, they added ... * WASHINGTON (8/13/08)--Raymond T. Crosier, president/CEO, Online Resources Corp., will serve as chairman of the Electronic Funds Transfer Association (EFTA) for a two-year term. Richard G. Lyons Jr., executive vice president of global debit and prepaid at MasterCard, was elected vice chairman. Sandra Hartfield, president/CEO, electronic banking division, Palm Desert National Bank, and Lynn Barr, partner, Goodwin Procter LLP, were re-elected treasurer and secretary, respectively. EFTA is a trade association dedicated to advancing electronic payment systems and commerce ...

FY 2009 round of CDFI program opens early

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WASHINGTON (8/13/08)—The U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund Tuesday released its notice of funds availability for FY2009. “I am happy to announce the opening of the 2009 award round of this critically important program. In these turbulent times, building the capacity of CDFIs serving the nation’s distressed communities is more important than ever," said CDFI Fund Director Donna Gambrell in a release. "We are opening this award round almost three weeks earlier than last year in order to provide applicants more time to prepare. In the coming months I look forward to sharing with our stakeholders additional steps the CDFI Fund will be taking to ensure that our programs operate as efficiently and effectively as possible in order to get these resources into the nation's distressed communities as quickly as possible." The annual funding notice provides up to $54 million, subject to final appropriations, in the form of awards to the community-based organizations known as CDFIs. The CDFIs provide affordable financing and related services to low-income communities and populations that lack access to credit, capital and financial services. Since it was created in 1994, the CDFI Fund has awarded $864 million to CDFIs, community development organizations and financial institutions through CDFI Program, the Bank Enterprise Award Program, and the Native Initiatives. In addition, the CDFI Fund has allocated $16 billion in tax credit authority to community development entities (CDEs) through the NMTC Program. The CDFI Program application deadline is 12 a.m. EDT on Oct. 29. An applicant not currently certified as a CDFI must first submit a CDFI certification application by 12 a.m. EDT on Oct. 1. Those interested in learning more about the FY 2009 funding round of the CDFI Program can do so though a CDFI Fund webcast on Aug. 18 or through the flowing workshops:
* Monday, Aug. 18, Chicago, Ill., at The Palmer House Hilton; * Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2008, Washington, D.C., at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City (Arlington, Va.); or * Friday, Sept. 19, 2008, Denver, Colo., at the Sheraton Denver Hotel.
Use the resource link below for more CDFI information.

Mica tells iPosti 2009 a busy busy year

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WASHINGTON (8/13/08)—In an Aug. 12 article in The Washington Post, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Dan Mica says 2009 is going to be a “very, very busy year” for lobbyists. The article, called “In a Harsh Climate for Lobbyists, the Forecast Calls for...More Lobbyists,” notes that both the Republican and the Democratic presidential candidates have had harsh words about lobbyist during their campaigning. “But K Street's response is not to flee in fear. Instead, it's getting ready for one of its busiest periods ever,” wrote reporter Jeffrey H. Birnbaum. CUNA’s Mica concurred: “It's going to be a very, very busy year; we might as well brace ourselves for it." The article noted that Mica, a former congressman from Florida, is asking CUNA’s state affiliates to boost their budgets so they can bring more people to Washington to press for their causes. "It doesn't matter which one is president--there is going to be a tremendous need for lobbying," Mica said. The Post article explained that increased need as a result both of the attacks from the “presidential wannabes” and the likelihood that Congress will become even more Democratic. A more Democratic Congress, the article posited, means that many corporate interests will face “increased danger next year and will have to employ more of the people whose job is to protect them--lobbyists.” CUNA merited a second, separate mention in the piece on lobbying. CUNA shined in a section that was otherwise about the receptions and late-night parties and hospitality suites that will be sponsored by some organizations during the presidential nominating conventions. “But not every lobbying event will be frivolous. Seeking positive publicity, the Credit Union National Association will give away a house at each convention to the family of a disabled military veteran,” the Post piece reports.

Treasury announces next Fin Lit meeting

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WASHINGTON (8/13/08)—The U.S. Treasury Department announced this week that it will conduct its fifteenth open meeting of its Financial Literacy and Education Commission (FLEC) on Sept. 16. FLEC is a 20-agency commission lead by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. It was created by Congress in 2003 to create a national strategy for financial education and the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) is represented among its members. Former NCUA Chairman JoAnn Johnson served as the head of the FLEC website subcommittee. New NCUA Chairman Michael Fryzel automatically becomes a FLEC member, but not necessarily head of the subcommittee. An agenda for the Sept. 16 meeting has not yet been made public, but Treausry did supply details in its Federal Register document published Monday of how to register to attend the meeting. It is to be held in the Cash Room at the Treasury Building. Use the resource link below to access the Federal Register announcement.