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SBA to expand microloan programs

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WASHINGTON (8/21/09)--Recent funding additions related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act have allowed the U.S. Small Business Administration to expand its microloan program, increasing access to capital for small businesses nationwide. In a Thursday release, the SBA said that it will focus on “adding new lenders and encouraging entrepreneurs to seek out SBA-backed microlenders to finance their businesses.” The SBA has “exhausted” its reserves of $20 million in loans and $20 million in technical assistance funds and will now use the additional $50 million in loan funds and $24 million in technical assistance funds, according to the release. SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills said that the additional resources will allow the SBA to “put more entrepreneurs and small business owners in a position to succeed and create jobs that will in turn help drive our nation’s economic recovery.” The SBA has approved eight new microloan applications following the passage of the Recovery Act and will disburse $10.7 million in Recovery Act funding through microloans. Durham, N.C.-based Self Help CU is one credit union that participates in the microlending program. Applicants who wish to participate in the program must: be organized as a non-profit organization, quasi-governmental economic development corporation, or an agency established by a Native American Tribal Government; have a minimum of one year of experience providing technical assistance to borrowers; and must have made and serviced short-term fixed-rate loans of not more than $35,000 to newly established or growing small businesses for at least one year, according to the SBA.

Fed adjusts mortgage disclosure triggers

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WASHINGTON (8/21/09)--The Federal Reserve Board announced that the dollar amount of points and fees that trigger additional disclosures and prohibitions under the Truth in Lending Act for some mortgage loans will be reduced to $579 for 2010. The so-called “trigger” for 2009 is currently $583. The disclosures and prohibitions will now apply when total points and fees on a loan exceed $579 or 8% of the loan amount, whichever is greater. The Fed adjustment, which will become effective Jan. 1, will not affect mortgage rules for “higher-priced mortgage loans,” as adopted by the Fed in 2008. Use the resource link below to review the board's complete notice and a Credit Union National Association rule analysis on the final rule.

Inside Washington (08/20/2009)

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* WASHINGTON (8/21/09)--The Washington Credit Union League board honored National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Chairman Michael Fryzel during the league’s August meeting. The league recognized Fryzel for addressing complex academic challenges in managing the corporate stabilization plan, his efforts to affirm the need for an independent credit union system and separate credit union charter, and for fulfilling his role as chair during an extraordinary time in credit union history. “Fryzel showed an ability to act at a time of crisis when other federal agencies were criticized for inaction. This advances the policy logic that supports the continuance of an independent NCUA, long into the future,” said John Annaloro, Washington league president/CEO ... * WASHINGTON (8/21/09)--Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) is becoming a powerful member of the Senate Banking Committee and is in line to become the No. 4 Republican on the committee next Congress, according to Brian Gardner, analyst with KBW Inc. He said Corker has rapidly ascended to relevance beyond his rank. Some of the issues the panel is facing include financial regulatory reform and the creation of a consumer protection agency. Corker does not favor the idea of creating a new agency and also doesn’t agree with the administration’s proposed requirement to force banks to offer “plain vanilla” products. Consumer protection is important, but the way it’s been presented is “bizarre,” Corker said ... * WASHINGTON (8/21/09)--The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) is set to meet Wednesday to discuss two proposals regarding risk-based capital guidelines--final statements of policy regarding qualifications for failed bank acquisitions and extending the transaction account guarantee program. The proposals have been debated by FDIC extensively. Private-equity firms oppose the proposal that would force them to keep a failed bank for three years to satisfy capital requirements. The agency said it could lessen some requirements, including reducing a proposed capital ratio to 8% from 15%. Bankers also are divided on the guarantee program (American Banker Aug. 20) ... * WASHINGTON (8/21/09)--James Lockhart, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), will become vice chairman of Wilbur Ross & Co., a investment affiliate of Invesco Ltd. in Atlanta (Associated Press Aug. 20). Lockhart’s last day at the FHFA is today. He is expected to start at Wilbur Ross next month. Lockhart was appointed to his post at the FHFA three years ago by former President George W. Bush. The former president was Lockhart’s childhood friend and fraternity brother at Yale. Wilbur Ross and Lockhart met in the early 1990s when Lockhart ran the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. Ross was advising creditors in a steel company bankruptcy ...