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Gallego wins Ariz. primary with help from CUs

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WASHINGTON (8/28/14)--Ruben Gallego, Marine veteran and credit union-supported candidate in Arizona's 7th Congressional District, emerged victorious in Tuesday's Democratic primary.

The district is classified by Roll Call as a safe for Democrats, meaning Gallego will likely be its new congressman, replacing the retiring Rep. Ed Pastor (D).

Gallego, who resigned his position as a state representative to run for the U.S. Congress, received 48.14% of the vote, while his closest competitor, Mary Rose Wilcox, took 36.4% of the vote. Starting out, Wilcox was considered the better-known of the two candidates.

Neither of the other two candidates in the Democratic primary took more than 8% of the vote.

The Mountain West Credit Union Association (MWCUA) endorsed Gallego, with MWCUA Vice President of Political Affairs Austin De Bey telling News Now Monday that Gallego was a "strong advocate and supporter of credit unions" while a state representative, and saying Gallego would continue to be so while serving in Congress.

Five credit unions participated in a partisan communication campaign that included nine mailers that went to almost 20,000 households with credit union members.

"The communication campaign made credit unions a significant player in an election in which only 24,097 voters turned out, and which Gallego won by only 2,838 votes," said Trey Hawkins, vice president for political affairs for the Credit Union National Association.

Libertarian Joe Cobb will face Gallego in November. There was no Republican in the 7th District primary Tuesday, but 876 write-in votes were cast.

Ed. Dept. adopts new SCRA procedures for FFEL lenders

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WASHINGTON (8/28/14)--There are new procedures for Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) lenders to determine if borrowers are eligible for benefits under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), the U.S. Department of Education announced this week.

According to FFEL data, 17 credit unions are in the top 100 financial institutions holding FFEL loans. Those 17 credit unions had outstanding FFEL program balances of $1.562 billion as of Sept. 30, 2013.

Under the new procedures set by the Department of Education, FFEL lenders are now authorized and encouraged to use the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) database to identify borrowers who are eligible for the interest-rate limitation provided military servicemembers under the SCRA and to grant that benefit. This identification can be made without a specific request from the borrower.

According to the Department of Education, it has been determined that the DMDC database provides "sufficient supporting documentation" of an individual's eligibility for the SCRA interest rate limitation.

Once a borrower's status and service dates have been confirmed using the DMDC, the loan servicer may use the information, but must retain that information in the borrower's file.  When the loan servicer applies the SCRA's interest rate limitation to a borrower's account, it must notify the borrower that the interest rate on the loan has been changed.

FFEL lenders that use the DMDC information to confirm a borrower status and maintain the supporting information will not be subject to any program liabilities if any information provided by the DMDC is found to be incorrect. The loan servicer does not need to confirm the information provided by the DMDC.

In a letter to FFEL lenders sent Wednesday, the Department of Education reminded them of two limitations on the application of the SCRA interest rate:
  • The SCRA applies only to loans taken out by a servicemember before the servicemember entered active-duty military service. It does not apply to loans taken out after the borrower's active-duty military service began; and

  • A consolidation loan made after the borrower has started active-duty military service is not eligible for benefits under the SCRA even if the underlying loans were taken out prior to the start of active-duty service.

Cyberattack simulations webinars available for FIs

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WASHINGTON (8/28/14)--Two identical, two-day cyberattack simulation exercises will be hosted by the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC) in September.

The annual free Cyberattack Against Payment Processes (CAPP) exercises are held in conjunction with the Payments Risk Council. This is the third year of the program.

Over a two-day period, a simulated attack will take place on payment processes to help organizations assess readiness in the event of such an attack. These events help the industry identify ways to prevent, detect and respond to cyberattacks against payment processes.

According to FS-ISAC, the exercises are meant to:
  • Evaluate current risk mitigation procedures related to cyberattacks and identify potential critical gaps in planning;
  • Engage in a live test of an incident response team's ability to respond to major incidents;
  • Raise awareness and educate staff regarding procedures to respond to complex threats;
  • Benchmark your business practices based on the responses of other firms;
  • Develop appropriate risk mitigation recommendations in response to the types of attacks used in this exercise; and
  • Receive an after-action report highlighting lessons learned from the exercise and category benchmark results.
Participants can choose from one of the two free sessions, one on Sept. 9 and 10, with a registration deadline of Sept. 5, and the other on Sept. 16 and 17, with a registration deadline of Sept. 12. The exercise is scheduled to take approximately an hour each day.

The simulations were announced by Federal Reserve Financial Services, which is the portal to national financial services for depository institution customers of the Federal Reserve System.

Use the resource link below for more information.

Inside Washington (08/28/2014)

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  • ARLINGTON, Va. (8/28/14)--In its latest issue, the FDIC Consumer News features tips on preparing financially for stressful life events, including disability or death. The summer edition of the Federal Deposit of Insurance Corp. (FDIC) publication also offers basic strategies for helping family members or others who are facing a personal hardship. It also reports on enhancements to the FDIC webpages that explain deposit insurance, offers tips for rebounding from a bad credit history, and outlines basics to know about new credit and debit cards that contain a computer chip for added security ...