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Alaska primary will name Nov. opponent for Sen. Begich

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WASHINGTON (8/19/14)--Today's Republican primary in Alaska will see three candidates vie for a spot in November's general election; Mead Treadwell, current lieutenant governor; Dan Sullivan, former state attorney general; and Joe Miller, a lawyer and former U.S. Magistrate judge.

The race is being watched closely by credit unions because the winner will run against incumbent Sen. Mark Begich (D). Begich was first elected in 2008 and is a longtime credit union supporter.

In July 2013 he wrote to the Senate Finance Committee supporting credit unions' tax status, saying it "should be retained in any tax reform effort, to ensure continued access to affordable credit for consumers, homebuyers and small businesses alike, all of which contribute substantially to economic growth."

Speaking at this year's Credit Union National Association Governmental Affairs Conference, Begich pledged his support for a bill that would raise the member business lending (MBL) cap from its current 12.25% of assets. He is also one of 32 senators to write to the National Credit Union Administration with concerns about its risk-based capital proposal.

Trey Hawkins, vice president of political affairs for CUNA, called Begich "one of the strongest credit union supporters in the Senate."

The Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC), CUNA's federal PAC, has participated in more than 400 U.S. House and Senate races this year. CULAC has raised more than $3.5 million this election cycle, and its contributions are split almost evenly between the two major parties, with 50.01% going to Democrats, 49.85% going to Republicans and 0.14% going to independent candidates.

Along with the Begich race, a number of November races feature credit union-supported candidates in close races, including incumbents Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Udall has advocated for credit unions in many areas, including preserving their tax status, increasing the MBL cap, and weighing in with concerns regarding the federal risk-based capital proposal. McConnell was backed in his May primary by the Kentucky Credit Union League and will be throughout the campaign.

Another closely watched race will be in California's 31st District. The race features Democratic candidate Pete Aguilar, a former vice president of Arrowhead CU, based in San Bernardino, Calif. with $820 million in assets.

CULAC contributed a $197,189.03 independent expenditure for direct mail and digital advertising for Aguilar, both in English and Spanish, in addition to a $10,000 contribution to Aguilar's campaign.

Webinars scheduled for TILA/RESPA integration

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WASHINGTON (8/19/14)--With less than a year remaining until the new Truth in Lending Act/Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (TILA/RESPA) rule goes into effect, several organizations are holding educational workshops to provide information about the rule and its implementation. The rule, which has a mandatory compliance date of Aug. 1, 2015, consolidates existing mortgage disclosures required under TILA/RESPA into two integrated forms.

CUNA Mutual Group will host a free webinar at noon (ET) today, the first in a series, designed to help credit unions understand the new rule, its impacts and how to comply.

Compliance experts will explain how the new rule may require changes to the mortgage lending process, as well as require system changes to complete the new required disclosures for mortgages and closed-end home equity lending.

"Overall, TILA/RESPA will directly affect the people, processes and technology credit unions use to support their lending operations because the regulations require loan disclosures to change dynamically to reflect each borrower's unique loan features," said Jon Bundy, regulatory compliance manager for CUNA Mutual Group. "Specifically, the rule will impact credit unions' relationships with their system providers, and most importantly, their members and their own staff."

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will host a webinar, the bureau's second in a continuing series, Aug. 26. This event is meant to address specific questions related to rule interpretation and implementation challenges that have been raised to the bureau.

Questions have been submitted by creditors, mortgage brokers, settlement agents, software developers and other stakeholders. According to the CFPB, future sessions will continue to address specific questions and challenges.

The CFPB's previous webinar was June 17, and the bureau will continue to host similar sessions throughout the implementation process. A recording of the June 17 webinar is available on the bureau's TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule homepage (see resource link).

The Aug. 26 webinar is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. (ET).

The Credit Union National Association continues to meet frequently with the CFPB concerning rule implementation resources and efforts, and also to reiterate ongoing concerns with TILA/RESPA implementation requirements and associated regulatory burdens for credit unions.

CUNA is also working on a collection of resources designed to guide credit union compliance with the new rules, which should be online in the coming weeks.

Use the resource links below for more information.

Ginnie Mae launches MBS pilot for FIs in 2 states

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WASHINGTON (9/19/14)--The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has given approval to start a pilot program that would allow Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) member institutions to originate and sell government backed loans into Ginnie Mae mortgage-backed securities (MBS), according to a report in American Banker .

The program, first proposed in September 2013, will initially be available to eligible participating members of the FHLB Chicago in Illinois and Wisconsin, with a wider rollout expected to follow ( News Now Sept. 9).

The new product, called Mortgage Partnership Finance (MPF) Government MBS, aims to provide mortgage lenders, particularly smaller institutions that currently lack direct access to the secondary mortgage market, a new option when creating mortgage products for home-buying consumers.

According to Ginnie Mae, "lenders will be able to choose whether to retain or release servicing on the government loans they originate and they will have a reliable channel for selling their loans that removes hurdles low-volume originators face in today's competitive market."

With the new authority granted by the FHFA, the Chicago FHLB will now be able to purchase government-insured loans, hold these loans on-balance sheet and then pool them into securities guaranteed by Ginnie Mae which may then be sold to investors.

Ginnie Mae currently guarantees more than $1.4 trillion of mortgage-backed securities.