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Inside Washington (08/05/2010)

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* ALEXANDRIA, Va. (8/6/10)--National Credit Union Administration board member Gigi Hyland at this week’s National Directors’ Convention urged credit union directors to serve as the “voice” of their members and “ask the tough questions at board meetings.” “You are not management’s rubber stamp,” Hyland added. She also suggested that boards, management and staff should be as diverse as their credit union’s field of membership. Hyland empathized with the rigors of serving as a credit union director, saying that “staying abreast of current issues and trends is tough.” However, she added, directors can “use all of the resources available” to stay current on issues … * WASHINGTON (8/6/10)—While many federal regulators acquired new authorities following the enactment of comprehensive financial regulatory reform, American Banker this week reported that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) may be losing its influence. While past law advised the Federal Reserve to share some of its duties related to large national financial institutions with the OCC, the recently enacted reforms grant the Fed greater authority over large-institution oversight. While most are unsure of how this change in oversight authority will play out, the Banker reported that many within the OCC are concerned. However, there are others who feel that the Fed will still lack the resources to deal with this nascent authority, and, thus, the OCC will retain its current role in full, said the publication. Former Comptroller of the Currency Bob Clarke told the Banker that the OCC and the Fed would “have to sit down and sort out what kind of information the Fed is going to want” as part of its systemic-risk authority …

CRA hearing coverage available via webcast

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WASHINGTON (8/6/10)--Credit unions will be able to keep up with the latest developments in the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) debate during a live webcast of a joint CRA hearing sponsored by the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Office of Thrift Supervision. The webcast will cover a hearing to be held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta at 9 a.m. ET. The hearing is expected to go on until 4 p.m. ET. Representatives from the sponsoring regulatory agencies, local and state-wide political jurisdictions, and various community organizations will speak during the hearing. A representative will also speak on behalf of Self-Help CU, based in Durham, N.C. CRA was enacted in 1977 in response to a practice known as "redlining," which refers to the failure to lend to lower-income and minority neighborhoods by banks and thrift institutions during the 1960s and early 1970s. Fed Governor Elizabeth Duke earlier this year called for a comprehensive update of the CRA. Panelists at an earlier CRA hearing called for additional enforcement, and suggested that CRA rules also be applied to credit unions. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has repeatedly opposed any effort to include credit unions under CRA requirements, and CUNA has maintained credit unions already achieve the CRA’s goal of ensuring that financial institutions meet the financial needs of all levels of society. For access to the CRA hearing, use the resource link.

Fed webinar to cover consumer regulatory changes

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WASHINGTON (8/6/10)--The Federal Reserve will cover recent consumer regulatory changes during an Aug. 19 webinar. The webinar, which will take place between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. ET, will cover the state of current regulatory proposals, upcoming final rules, and details of the recently passed financial regulatory reform rules. Webinar participants will be able to have their regulatory questions answered by attorneys from the Fed’s division of consumer and community affairs. Questions may be submitted ahead of the webinar via email or can be submitted during the webcast. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has also published its own analysis of the recently enacted financial regulatory reforms. To register for the Webinar or access CUNA's reg reform resources, use the resource links.

FBI reports on CU bank crimes

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WASHINGTON (8/6/10)--A total of 94 robberies and four burglaries were recorded at credit unions during the first quarter of this year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has reported. In its quarterly compilation of financial institution crime reports, the FBI noted that a total of 1,160 robberies, 21 burglaries, and two larcenies occurred at all reporting financial institutions. Just over $9 million in funds were taken, and nearly $2 million of those funds were eventually recovered during this time period. The majority of the crimes were committed at branch offices in commercial areas of metropolitan cities. The FBI also noted that one bank extortion violation occurred at a credit union over this time period, but none of the total of three extortion attempts were successful. For the full FBI report, use the resource link.