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Washington

Two CU CEOs appointed to Fed district panel on community depository institutions

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (8/29/11)--The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco last week appointed Advantis CU, Milwaukie, Oregon, president/CEO Ronald Barrick as vice chairman of its 12th District Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council (CDIAC), and named Utah First FCU, Salt Lake City, Utah, president/CEO Darin Moody as the newest member of the CDIAC. Moody will serve a three-year term on the advisory council. His credit union, Utah First, holds around $240 million in assets from more than 21,000 members. Vice chairman Barrick’s credit union, Advantis CU, holds around $756 million in assets from 43,500 members. The 12th District CDIAC is one of 12 district bank-based councils. The chairmen from each of these 12 councils serves on the Fed’s larger CDIAC, which meets twice a year in Washington, D.C. and provides the Fed with input on the economy, lending conditions, and other issues. The Fed’s CDIAC will replace the Thrift Institutions Advisory Council, which was established by the Fed in 1980 and advised the Fed on thrift institutions, mortgage finance, and regulations. The 12th district CDIAC is chaired by John Evans, Jr., CEO of Burley, Idaho-based DL Evans Bank. The other members of the 12th district CDIAC are:
*William Castle, President/CEO of Klamath Falls, Oregon’s South Valley Bank and Trust; *James Christensen, President/CEO of Mesa, Arizona’s Gateway Commercial Bank; *Daniel Doyle, President/CEO of Fresno, California’s Central Valley Community Bank; *Constance Lau, Chairman of Honolulu, Hawaii’s American Savings Bank; *Arvind Menon, President/CEO of Las Vegas, Nevada’s Meadows Bank; and *James Woolwine, Chairman of San Francisco, California’s Presidio Bank.
For the full Fed release, use the resource link.

NCUA broadens education outreach with bilingual website

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (8/29/11)--The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) on Friday released a new version of its MyCreditUnion.gov website, revising its existing online credit union information source to offer a "one-stop toolbox of educational information and personal finance tips” en español. The site can be found at http://espanol.mycreditunion.gov . The NCUA’s lone Hispanic Board Member, Gigi Hyland, said she is “particularly pleased” by the launch of the Spanish-language site, which will provide “critical information for Hispanic consumers to understand the nature of credit unions and the services they offer.” NCUA Board Chairman Debbie Matz added: “Whether it’s a car loan, a mortgage, a credit card, or a short-term alternative loan, smart consumers need to do their financial homework. Now, consumers can do that research in English or in Spanish.” Like the English-language site that was launched earlier this year, the new NCUA site contains background information on the credit union system and tells interested parties how they can start their own credit union. The site also addresses the needs of consumers by helping users locate local credit unions and reminding existing and potential members that up to $250,000 worth of funds placed in a credit union are covered by the NCUA's deposit insurance fund. More general information on key financial concepts like saving, borrowing, managing credit, and obtaining free credit reports are covered by the site, and important pointers for resolving credit union member complaints are also covered. For more on the new NCUA site, use the resource link.

House Financial Services Committee sets Sept. hearings

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WASHINGTON (8/29/11)--A pair of New York, N.Y.-based field hearings on terrorist financing and the mortgage system will kick off a seven-day slate of 11 House Financial Services Committee hearings once Congress returns for its fall work period next week. The first of these hearings will take place when the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee discusses fighting terrorist financing in the post-9/11 world. That hearing will be held at the National Museum of the American Indian’s George Gustav Heye Center on Sept. 6 at 10 a.m. ET. The committee’s second New York-based hearing will also be held in the Heye Center at 10 a.m. ET on Sept. 7. That hearing, before the Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee, is entitled “Facilitating Continued Investor Demand in the U.S. Mortgage Market Without a Government Guarantee.” Assorted subcommittee hearings on housing, the impact of the European Union’s debt crisis on U.S. banks, broker-dealers and investment adviser oversight, and combating cybercriminals have been planned. Also on the schedule are:
* A Sept. 13 Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology Subcommittee hearing on H.R. 1098, the Free Competition in Currency Act; * A Sept. 14 Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity Subcommittee oversight hearing on the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s housing counseling program; * A Sept. 15 committee hearing on potential Securities and Exchange Commission reforms; and * A Sept. 15 International Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee hearing on the impact of multi-lateral development banks on national security.
The committee said that witnesses for these hearings would be announced at later dates. For a release on the committee schedule, use the resource link.

Inside Washington (08/26/2011)

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* WASHINGTON (8/29/11)--JP Morgan Chase & Co. has reached an $88.3 million settlement for alleged violations of international sanctions programs, including Cuban assets control and anti-terrorism regulations (American Banker Aug. 26). The violations include more than 1,700 wire transfers, totaling about $178.5 million, involving Cuban nationals who were processed in apparent violation of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations. The settlement represents the largest civil penalty against a U.S. bank for sanctions violations … * WASHINGTON (8/29/11)--The Obama administration’s plan to ease criteria for refinancing Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgages could strengthen the economy and help troubled homeowners--without requiring the approval of Republicans (American Banker Aug. 26). The plan would allow homeowners to reduce their monthly mortgage payments, giving borrowers more money to spend and possibly stimulating the economy. It also would reduce the chance that taxpayers would have to pay for defaulted mortgage loans. The plan would not necessarily require the approval of Congress, where Obama’s proposals have met opposition from Republicans …

NEW NCUA to send preparedness dispatch to CUs in Irenes path

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ALEXANDRIA, Va, (8/26/11 UPDATE 10:00 a.m. ET)—Federally insured credit unions in 16 states and the District of Columbia, in the potential path of oncoming Hurricane Irene, will receive a National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Dispatch today urging them to undertake a thorough review of their business continuity and disaster preparedness, response, and recovery plans in preparation for potential incidents related to this storm. The states targeted—perhaps by Irene and therefore by the Dispatch—are Florida—though mostly out of danger at this point--Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, D.C., Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hamsphsire, and Vermont. The alert is expected to say:
*Credit unions potentially in the path of the storm should take action now to ensure they are prepared for any events resulting from the hurricane. Events related to a hurricane may have a significant effect on the operation of your credit union and your members. * Management’s action should be commensurate with the complexity of the credit union’s operations and focus on minimizing interruptions of service to members and maintaining member confidence if the credit union is affected by the hurricane.
The following lessons, the Dispatch will note, have been learned from previous disasters:
* Implement pre-disaster actions to ensure a constant state of readiness, and take steps to ensure assets and vital records are preserved if an early warning is received and until the event has passed. This includes:
*Ensuring current backup files of critical data are created and the backup files are maintained in a location an appropriate geographic distance from the potential areas Hurricane Irene may impact. *Identify critical staff for continuity of operations and if necessary relocated staff an appropriate geographic distance from the potential areas Hurricane Irene may impact.
* Update the credit union’s NCUA Credit Union Online profile if for some reason there have been any recent contact information changes. *Communicate disaster preparedness and response efforts before, during, and after an emergency to keep members, volunteers, employees, and regulators fully aware of the situation; * Utilize a cross-section of people to develop, test, and implement disaster preparedness and response plans before the hurricane hits or related events occur; * Ensure back-ups are available not only for data but also personnel, worksites, equipment, vendors, and other resources; and *Treat disaster preparedness and response plans as “living documents” and update the plans as circumstances related to this event change.
NCUA says management’s action should be commensurate with the complexity of the credit union’s operations and focus on minimizing interruptions of service to members and maintaining member confidence if the credit union is affected by the hurricane. In the event of a disaster or other emergency, NCUA works with affected credit unions, state credit union organizations, and state regulators to ensure federally insured credit unions are aware of assistance available from NCUA. If necessary, NCUA will reschedule routine examinations of effected credit unions. Depending on the nature of the event, NCUA also encourages an extra level of credit union assistance to impacted members, such as special loan terms and reduced documentation requirements. If necessary, credit unions can reach NCUA at: (703) 518-6300 or NCUA.gov.