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Inside Washington (08/30/2012)

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  • TAMPA, Fla. (8/31/12)--Real estate and mortgage industry insiders are seeking an audience with legislators at this week's Republican National Convention, and will be doing the same at next week's Democratic gathering in Charlotte, N.C. And the insiders are discussing key issues as they meet with lawmakers (American Banker, Aug. 30). Potential elimination of the mortgage interest tax deduction, and the impact of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, are among the topics being discussed. The housing industry representatives are working to convince lawmakers to leave mortgage deduction changes out of any future tax solutions, noting that a strong real estate market would help along the ongoing economic recovery. Dodd-Frank risk-retention regulations have also been discussed …

CUNA releases remittance amendment analysis

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WASHINGTON (8/31/12)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has released a final rule analysis of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) recent amendments to a remittance transfer rule that was issued in February.

The bureau's new remittance disclosure rule will take effect Feb. 7. This final rule addresses only  safe harbor and preauthorized transfers. It affects international wires and international automated clearinghouse (ACH) transfers.

Under the rule, disclosures must generally be provided when the consumer first requests a transfer and again when payment is made. The rule also provides consumers with error resolution and cancellation rights.

One of the amendments would create a safe harbor from these rules for financial institutions that provide 100 or fewer transfers per year. The amendments also specify other changes regarding disclosures for transfers that are scheduled in advance, including preauthorized transfers that are authorized in advance to recur at substantially regular intervals.

For the final rule analysis, use the resource link.

Republican National Convention Thursday highlights

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TAMPA, Fla. (8/31/12)--With 2,286 delegates and 2,125 alternate delegates, representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories, gathered to participate in the Republican National Convention (RNC) here this week, it became official last night: Mitt Romney, in a televised speech, accepted his party's nomination to be Republican candidate for the presidential race to be voted in November.

Activities on the convention floor last night, held at the Tampa Bay Times Forum and leading up to the culminating Romney acceptance speech, included a call to order by House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and convention addresses by Republican figures such as Rep. Connie Mack of Florida, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and his wife, Callista, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.

The program also prominently featured a video on the legacy of former President Ronald Reagan.

The RNC Thursday also unveiled three "These Hands" videos profiling small business owners in Colorado, Nevada and Ohio.

And to wrap up the night's event, musician and former American Idol star Taylor Hicks performed at the forum. Hicks performed earlier this year at the kickoff concert for the Credit Union National Association's CUNA's 2012 Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.

Cheney CUs note reg burdens in CFPB call

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WASHINGTON (8/31/12)--Credit union callers and Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney noted the growing concerns about the regulatory burdens faced by credit unions in a Thursday audio conference with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray.

During the call, Cheney noted that, in his travels among credit unions and to their gatherings, many have told him they are overwhelmed by regulations. He said that credit unions operated differently from other financials before, during, and after the financial crisis and that "nobody needs to protect consumers from credit unions."

To that end, the CUNA president urged the CFPB director to help credit unions avoid any unneeded regulations, where possible. He pointed out that, while many of the rules written by the CFPB are mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, the agency also has broad authority to exempt credit unions and other financial institutions from resulting regulations.

Credit union representatives who participated in the call also discussed their own issues with the CFPB director. One credit union representative said the CFPB does not directly notify regulated entities when a new proposed regulation has been released, and asked if the CFPB could reach out to institutions electronically.

He noted that some federal regulators provide information on their regulatory proposals to e-mail list recipients, and said that the CFPB could help credit unions and their compliance officers by taking similar actions.

Another call participant said earlier notification of proposed rule releases would help give credit unions the time needed to fully formulate their thoughts on a given proposal before the comment deadline passes. While many regulators tie open comment deadline dates to the date that their new rules are published in the Federal Register, that is not currently the CFPB's practice.

The CFPB's work with the National Credit Union Administration and other regulators, and the agency's pending mortgage regulation changes, were also topics of discussion during the call. Participants also called on the CFPB to take additional actions to gauge a given regulation's short- and long-term impacts on consumers and financial institutions alike.

The CFPB will again be the central topic at a Sept. 6 CUNA webinar. That webinar, which will feature CUNA Deputy General Counsel Mary Dunn, CUNA Senior Assistant General Counsel Jared Ihrig and Andrea Stritzke, vice president of regulatory compliance for PolicyWorks, will address the CFPB's proposed mortgage rules. This webinar will also focus on the agency's proposed "higher-risk" mortgage appraisal rule and the recently approved Regulation B appraisal proposal.

To register for the Sept. 6 webinar, use the resource link.

Convention wraps CUs involved to the end

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TAMPA, Fla. (8/31/12)--Credit Union National Association (CUNA), state credit union league, and credit union involvement at the Republican National Convention (RNC) continued Thursday, even after the climatic events a day earlier that included Ann Romney helping to launch the credit union-supported therapeutic playground project at All Children's Hospital and a separate, Tampa-flavored CUNA gathering to honor convention delegates and members of the U.S. Congress.

CUNA senior officials, including President/CEO Bill Cheney, continued to have a presence at the Tampa Bay Times Forum convention venue and attended the Thursday night acceptance speech of Mitt Romney to become the Republican candidate for president.

Earlier in the day, CUNA, as it had done all week, sponsored the National Journal Group morning convention briefing Thursday. The final session was called "View from the Top: A Conversation with Campaign Managers and Senior Strategists" and included panelists: John Brabender of Brabender Cox; Terry Nelson of FP1 Strategies; and Sara Fagen of DDC Advocacy. CUNA is sponsoring similar National Journal Group briefings all next week at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

Credit unions have had a strong presence at the RNC all week.  Leagues represented here have included:

  • League of Southeastern Credit Unions;
  • California and Nevada Credit Union League;
  • Mountain West Credit Union Association;
  • North Carolina Credit Union League;
  • Credit Union Association of New Mexico;
  • Michigan Credit Union League.
Credit union events here culminated Wednesday when Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential nominee--now candidate--Mitt Romney, helped CUNA, the League of Southeastern Credit Unions and other credit union and hospital representatives open a new therapeutic playground at the hospital in nearby St. Petersburg in a ribbon cutting ceremony. (See Aug. 30 News Now: Ann Romney praises CU RNC effort to enrich Tampa community.)

At the beginning of her remarks there, Romney thanked credit unions for their fundraising efforts that made the playground project possible.

Later Wednesday, CUNA sponsored an event to honor delegates and lawmakers participating in the RNC. Working with Arturo Fuente Jr., the head of a 100-year-old Tampa-based family business--Tampa Sweetheart Cigars, which makes and sells famous cigars, as well as distributes to other cigar shops--CUNA hosted about 300 RNC delegates at a reception, which included about two dozen federal and state lawmakers.

The reception was held on the grounds of GTE Financial, a credit union in Tampa. Fuente is a board member at GTE Financial.

CUNAs Cheney meets with Republican leadership at RNC events

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TAMPA, Fla. (8/31/12)--Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney Wednesday night was able to engage in spontaneous meetings with top Republican leadership, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, as he attended Republican National Convention (RNC) events and addresses at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, the RNC venue here.

Cheney and GOP leaders discussed the economy, election issues and more, and Cheney shared the credit union perspective with Senate and House Republicans.

Cheney and other top CUNA and league officials continued the credit union presence at the RNC last night as Mitt Romney accepted his party's nomination to be its presidential candidate.

CUNA, the state credit union leagues, and credit unions have been active all week in RNC events.

Next week in Charlotte, N.C., the credit union representatives will blanket the Democratic National Convention to establish a presence there, also.