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Washington Archive

Washington

FinCEN gives law enforcement new data access tool

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WASHINGTON (9/11/12)--FinCEN Query, an application that will allow law enforcement and regulatory officials to access and analyze 11 years of data, has been released by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

Portions of the USA Patriot Act aimed to strengthen the government's ability to prevent, detect and prosecute international financial crimes and terrorist financing. That bill was passed in early 2002.

For the full FinCEN release, use the resource link.

Inside Washington (09/10/2012)

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  • WASHINGTON (9/11/12)--The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has recently moderated the number of consent orders it issues to banks. The agency handed out four consent orders in July after issuing three in June (American Banker Sept. 10). As many as a third of the nation's banks have received some sort of formal consent order since the beginning banking crisis in 2008, limiting the number of institutions that can be targeted. Fewer consent orders indicate the continued recovery of the industry, Serena Owens, the associate director for the division of risk management and supervision at the FDIC, wrote in an e-mail. The economy has largely stabilized since 2008, said Walter Moeling IV, a partner at Bryan Cave. Banks that received the most recent orders were cited because their classified assets ratio hit a 100% of Tier 1 capital and loan-loss allowance, Moeling said …
  • WASHINGTON (9/11/12)--The meeting of the Community Development Financial Institutions  (CDFI) Fund's Community Development Advisory Board, originally scheduled to be held at 2 p.m. ET Wednesday, has been postponed. When a new date for the meeting has been set, a meeting notice will be published in the Federal Register and the CDFI Fund will distribute the public notice via its e-mail subscription service

CUNA MBL press event leads way as Congress returns

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WASHINGTON (9/11/12)--As members of the U.S. Congress return to Washington this week, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) will detail how member business lending (MBL) legislation will help small businesses and create new jobs during a Wednesday public press event.

The press event, which will be presented as part of Washington political newspaper The Hill's "Issue Forum" series, is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. ET. Credit unions will be able to watch the event streamed live by going to www.thehill.com .

The event will feature remarks from key MBL sponsors Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), as well as CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney and MBL coalition partners. Rhett Buttle of The Small Business Majority and Eli Lehrer of the R Street Institute will also present a joint research report focusing on job growth, the role small business plays in the economy and the support that credit unions can offer to small business in the economy's recovery with expanded business lending authority.

MBL legislation was a key CUNA priority before the August congressional district work period, and it remains so as Congress returns.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has promised a vote on MBL legislation before the end of the year, and CUNA and credit unions have continued to meet with legislators in anticipation of that vote. Credit union representatives from Alabama, Florida, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Washington and West Virginia will make the case for MBLs and other credit union priorities in visits to Washington this week.

"Every day, we have more confidence in our ability to win an up-or-down vote on MBL legislation, and CUNA is exploring every opportunity to advance this legislation before the end of the year," CUNA Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs Ryan Donovan said.

Another credit union legislative issue, a bill that would ease dual ATM disclosure regulations that are creating legal issues for credit unions and other financial institutions, passed the U.S. House in July. However, that bill is being held up in the Senate. The issue is not the ATM bill itself, but legislation that it has been attached to in the Senate. The ATM legislation has been combined with a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) information disclosure bill, and political gridlock regarding the CFPB is creating issues for this bill. Donovan said CUNA "supports moving the ATM bill as quickly as possible--whether it is combined with the CFPB bill or on its own." CUNA has been working to resolve the situation, and believes the ATM bill, which has more than 60 co-sponsors, "could move quickly if it was put forward as a stand-alone measure," Donovan added.

This week, the returning House and Senate members have several hearings on the schedule.

Using direct deposit to receive social security benefits will be discussed in a House Ways and Means social security subcommittee hearing today. The House Financial Services Committee hearing today will also mark up legislation that would clarify municipal advisor regulations under the Securities Exchange Act, and separate legislation that would reform housing support for military veterans.

The Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday plans to discuss the CFPB's semi-annual report to congress with CFPB Director Richard Cordray. A Wednesday joint hearing on The JOBS Act has also been scheduled by the House Oversight and Government Reform TARP, financial services and bailouts of public and private programs subcommittee and the House Financial Services capital markets and government sponsored enterprises subcommittee. A Wednesday House Financial Services financial institutions and consumer credit subcommittee hearing on the use of consumer credit data has also been scheduled.

Congress is scheduled to remain in session until Sept. 21.

CU performance LICU eligibility more on NCUA webinar agenda

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (9/11/12)--Corporate credit unions, recently finalized and proposed rules, and the overall performance of the credit union industry will all be topics of conversation when the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) hosts its next online town hall webinar on Oct. 4.

The webinar is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. ET and will be hosted by NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz. The webinar is free of charge and is open to all in the credit union industry.

"Because credit unions can't always come to NCUA, NCUA comes to them with webinars," Matz said. The online town hall events provide timely information about NCUA initiatives and continue an open dialogue with credit union stakeholders, she added. "Our industry is going through many changes, and credit unions need to know about the latest developments at NCUA. I hope credit union professionals and volunteers will join us to hear what's going on and ask questions," Matz said.

The webinar will also include discussion of the NCUA's low-income credit union eligibility and regulatory modernization initiatives, and the agency's new Office of National Examinations and Supervision.

To register for the webinar, use the resource link.

Long compliance period needed for mortgage form changes CUNA

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WASHINGTON (9/11/12)--Noting that credit unions and financial institutions of all sizes will have issues implementing planned changes to Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) disclosures, and related mortgage rules, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has encouraged the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to give financial institutions one year, at a minimum, to comply.

The CFPB earlier this year proposed a new, simplified mortgage disclosure form that combines elements of RESPA and TILA disclosure forms into a single document. New mortgage rules were also proposed to implement these RESPA/TILA changes.

Final versions of the forms and rules are expected to be released in January, but the agency has not settled on final implementation dates.

Staff training and software and system alterations are among the challenges that credit unions and others will face due to these TILA/RESPA changes, and CUNA in a comment letter to the CFPB noted that the agency has admitted that "compliance with the new rules and combined disclosure requirements will be a challenge for a number of institutions." CUNA also noted that easing compliance dates for smaller institutions may not achieve the intended result of relieving burdens for small institutions. For example, CUNA said that many larger institutions purchase loans from smaller institutions. Even if regulatory effective dates are delayed for smaller institutions, larger institutions may require the smaller ones to issue disclosures that are consistent with the regulation, CUNA added.

"This issue would be resolved if all institutions were subject to the same, delayed effective date," CUNA Deputy General Counsel Mary Dunn said in the comment letter. She suggested the CFPB grant financial institutions with more than $10 billion in assets a minimum of 12 months to comply with the new rules, and said the agency should add an additional six months of compliance time for institutions with less than $10 billion in assets.

CUNA also agreed with the CFPB's plans to delay Title XIV disclosures to coincide with the adoption of the combined TILA-RESPA disclosures.

The provisions that the CFPB is proposing to delay are:

  • Warning regarding negative amortization features;
  • Disclosure of state law anti-deficiency protections;
  • Disclosure regarding creditor's partial payment policy;
  • Disclosure regarding mandatory escrow accounts;
  • Disclosure regarding waiver of escrow at consummation;
  • Disclosure of monthly payment, including escrow, at initial and fully-indexed rate for variable-rate transactions;
  • Repayment analysis disclosure to include amount of escrow payments for taxes and insurance;
  • Disclosure of settlement charges and fees and the approximate amount of the wholesale rate of funds;
  • Disclosure of mortgage originator fees;
  • Disclosure of total interest as a percentage of principal; and
  • Optional disclosure of appraisal management company fee.
"With the exception of certain fixed-rate, lump sum reverse mortgages, we believe that creditors should be given an additional period of at least six months for compliance with requirements that apply to open-end and other transactions," CUNA said.

Overall, CUNA urged the CFPB to use its exemption authority "to the fullest extent permissible to relieve regulatory burdens for credit unions."

For the full CUNA comment letter, use the resource link.