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Inside Washington (09/19/2008)

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* WASHINGTON (9/22/08)--The Treasury Department announced a temporary guaranty program for U.S. money market mutual funds. The Treasury will insure the holdings of any publicly offered eligible money market mutual fund that pays a fee to participate in the program. The program “should enhance market confidence and alleviate investors’ concerns about the ability for money market mutual funds to absorb a loss. Concerns about the net asset value of money market funds falling below $1 have exacerbated global financial market turmoil and cause severe liquidity strains in world markets,” the Treasury said in a statement ... * WASHINGTON (9/22/08)--The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) said it is committed to taking a “flexible supervisory approach” for institutions affected by the conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The agency said it will work with institutions that are required to develop a Capital Restoration Plan under the Prompt Corrective Action guidelines. The FDIC also will be flexible in considering requests for waivers from brokered deposit restrictions for institutions that have become adequately capitalized, the agency said in a financial institution letter ... * WASHINGTON (9/22/08)--Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said during a Thursday hearing that he wants regulators to tighten controls on off-balance sheet assets. More transparency is needed, he said (American Banker Sept. 19). Reed also supports the Financial Accounting Standards Board proposal to change the way banks count certain off-balance sheet assets--which would prevent special-purpose entities from being counted as assets. Reed noted that if firms keep off-balance sheet assets, they need to let investors know. Companies with more accurate accounting fare better in today’s marketplace than those who are slow to realize losses, he added ...

Compliance What to know about mortgage registry

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WASHINGTON (9/22/08)—Credit unions may be wondering how a new law imposing licensing and registration requirements for mortgage originators affects them, and when they might need to start participating in the registry, and the compliance experts at the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) are busy getting the word out. In the September Compliance Challenge, CUNA reminds credit unions that the Housing and Economic Recovery Act, signed into law in July, will require employees of state and federally chartered credit unions who originate mortgage loans (such as loan officers) to annually register with the National Mortgage Licensing System and Registry as a "registered loan originator." However, credit union employees do not have to do anything to comply just yet. The law requires the National Credit Union Administration and the federal banking agencies via the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) to develop and maintain the registry system in conjunction with the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) and the American Association of Residential Mortgage Regulators (AARMR). The CSBS launched a nationwide database for mortgage professionals on January 2, 2008, and the project gets a gigantic boost from the new housing law. The FFIEC agencies have one year to put this program into place. The law was enacted on July 30, 2008, so agencies have until late July/early August 2009 to get the registry up and running. Stay tuned, says the Challenge for agency announcements in the next several months.

CUNA Possible lame duck session for 110th Congress

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WASHINGTON (9/22/08)—Both houses of Congress are scheduled to adjourn for the year at the end of this week. However, there are pending matters which, if not resolved, may all but demand that federal lawmakers to stay beyond the target adjournment date, or return to Washington in October or November to work them out. On Thursday, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Benjamin Bernake met with lawmakers to propose the creation of an entity similar to Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC) as an effort to stabilize the capital markets. An energy bill, defense authorization bill and a continuing resolution to fund the government are also pending before Congress. While sentiment as recently as last week appeared to be solidly against a lame duck session, leaders in both the House and Senate have acknowledged it as a probability. Credit Union National Association Vice President of Legislation Ryan Donovan noted Friday that credit unions could benefit from legislative days being added to the calendar. “A lame duck session gives us more time to keep pushing for action on key credit union issues,” Donovan said. “The CUNA legislative team is in high gear following the legislative proposals to deal with the economic crisis and also trying to push CUBTRRA through the Senate.” The House passed the Credit Union, Bank and Thrift Regulatory Relief Act(CUBTRRA, H.R. 6312) on June 19 by voice vote. CUNA continues to urge the Senate to act on this bill before the end of the 110th Congress. CUBTTRA combined most of the Credit Union Regulatory Relief Act (CURRA) with the Bank and Thrift Regulatory Relief Act