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NCUA hosts new state regulators

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (8/8/08)—National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Chairman Michael Fryzel and Board Member Gigi Hyland welcomed newly appointed state credit union commissioners and representatives of the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors (NASCUS) for meetings at NCUA’s headquarters in Alexandria, Va. Among those attending the meeting with Fryzel and Hyland:
* Lorie Hovanec, director, Division of Banking and Securities for the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, Alaska; * Martin Cofsky, deputy Superintendent of banks, New York State Banking Department; * Ken Ross, commissioner, Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation); * Joseph Garcia, chief of staff to Commissioner Ross; * Jenita Moore, deputy commissioner of policy, Michigan; and * NASCUS President and CEO Mary Martha Fortney.
Hyland is the NCUA board representative to NASCUS. “It is both important and beneficial that federal and state regulators foster open dialogue,” said Fryzel in a press statement released yesterday. “Particularly in these times of heightened attention to the safe and sound operations of financial institutions of all kinds, NCUA and the state regulatory system need to work closer than ever to ensure that we fulfill our responsibilities.”

House members urge vote on interchange bill

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WASHINGTON (8/8/08)--Four members of the U.S. House of Representatives this week urged leadership to commence a full House vote on a bill that would give merchants an antitrust exemption to negotiate interchange fees. The Credit Card Fair Fee Act (H.R. 5546) narrowly squeaked by the House Judiciary Committee last month with a 19-16 vote. U.S. Reps. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Chris Carney (D-Pa.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Majority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) to bring the bill to full House vote before the Congressional session concludes. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) opposes government intervention in setting interchange fees. CUNA believes that the tight committee vote and a short remaining legislative calendar will combine to preclude a final vote on an interchange bill this year. However, CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica added that CUNA does not assume H.R. 5546 is dead, and will remain active on the Hill in "beating the legislative drums against floor consideration and passage." "HR 5546 is not necessary for credit unions and will work against consumers in the long run. We will continue to oppose it," Mica added.

H.R. 1151 became law 10 years ago

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WASHINGTON (8/8/08)--"With the memories of that time still so vivid, it hardly seems that a decade has gone by since H.R. 1151 was signed into law,” said Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Dan Mica. The credit union leader was reflecting on the 10th anniversary of the signing of the bill, officially titled The Credit Union Membership Access Act. It granted credit unions power to serve multiple groups. “We learned so much during that historic struggle to pass the bill-- the value of grassroots, the importance of a permanent presence on Capitol Hill, the urgency of political action,” said Mica. “We learned that the Movement wasn't nearly as ready as any of us thought to deal with a significant federal legislative issue,” he added. “Since then, we have built on those lessons--with Credit Union House, our Hike the Hill programs, and the growth of our political programs, and much more.” Mica witnessed President Bill Clinton sign H.R. 1151 into law on Aug. 7, 1998. Also present in the Oval Office were the bill’s chief sponsors, Pennsylvania Democrat Congressman Paul Kanjorski and Ohio Republican Steve LaTourette. Bankers claimed that NCUA’s multiple groups field of membership policy violated the common bond of the Federal Credit Union Act. After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against credit unions in February 1998, credit unions worked hard to gain sponsors for H.R. 1151. “The task 10 years ago was to enact a bill to ensure credit unions survive,” said Mica. “Now, our challenge is to apply what we have developed since then to ensure credit unions thrive and grow."