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Cheney Report: Tax, Housing Policy Top Billing As Congress Returns

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WASHINGTON (9/9/13)--This week's edition of The Cheney Report focuses on two of the hottest topics as the U.S. Congress returns to Washington this week: Taxes and Housing. And, as these issues return to the forefront, strong advocacy efforts are needed more than ever.

As tax conversations return to the halls of Capitol Hill, the Credit Union National Association is readying another #DontTaxTuesday to launch on Sept. 10. "This event serves as a bookend to our first blitz, which we sponsored in late July just as Congress was getting ready to go out on its summer break," Cheney wrote.

Senate and House tax-writing committees may hold mark-ups on their respective tax reform plans, and credit unions must be part of the discussion, whether legislation is offered this fall or at a later date, he emphasized.

"Let Congress hear credit unions--again--loud and clear: Don't Tax My Credit Union." (See News Now story: CUInsight: Every Voice Counts On Don't Tax Tuesday.)

Meanwhile, Cheney said CUNA also expects housing finance reform to heat up in the coming weeks. "Leaders of the Senate Banking Committee, and the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, have strongly indicated their desire to move legislation to the floor in their respective chambers by this fall," he wrote.

"There are many variables that could come into play, of course, for both of these issues. But CUNA and the Leagues are planning for all contingencies--and will be ready as action develops," Cheney wrote.

Actively participating in credit union grassroots activities and the political process is one tenet of CUNA's Unite for Good. Through Unite for Good, CUNA has called on credit unions to rally together to help create a nation in which "Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner."

Cheney said this rallying cry will be heard again on Oct. 17, International Credit Union Day. "This year presents a golden opportunity to capture all the positive energy around our internal system efforts and share the message with credit union members," Cheney said.

Other topics touched on in this week's Cheney Report include:
  • Credit Union Magazine's special issue featuring credit union "rock stars" from across the country;
  • CUNA's latest edition of E-Scan; and
  • CUNA's concerns regarding a recent National Credit Union Administration letter addressing credit union membership advertising.
Each Friday, The Cheney Report provides a valuable window into CUNA's actions on behalf of member credit unions and reinforces the value of CUNA membership. To sign up for The Cheney Report, click the resource link below and use the "subscribe" tab on the right of the page.

Past issues of The Cheney Report are also archived on cuna.org.

NCUA Internship Intros Students To CU System

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (9/9/13)--Since its inception in June 2010, the National Credit Union Administration's Summer Intern Program has helped 47 college students experience the credit union difference first hand, and to learn about the credit union system by working from within.

The 2013 edition of the program is now complete, and this year's intern crop was the largest seen by the agency: 24 college students took on three-month internships.

The program, which draws interns from the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, Washington Internships for Native Students, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, and the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership, has created four full-time NCUA employees and one full-time credit union employee.

The internship program is managed by the NCUA's Equal Opportunity Programs office. Office director S. Denise Hendricks said the program allows NCUA "to provide an opportunity to students who otherwise may not get one." The students "gain valuable experience that will help them succeed," she added.

For more on the internship program, use the resource link.

$24 Million-asset Craftsman CU Liquidated By NCUA

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (9/9/13)--Craftsman CU, Detroit, has been liquidated by the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services. Michigan authorities appointed the National Credit Union Administration as liquidating agent.

The credit union was liquidated after the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services determined it was insolvent, and had no prospect for restoring viable operations. Craftsman CU members, deposits and some loans have been assumed by Security CU, Flint, Mich.

The new Security Credit Union members will experience no interruption in services, and their accounts remain federally insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund up to $250,000, the NCUA noted.

Security CU serves 49,277 members and holds $367 million in assets. Craftsman was chartered in 1947 and served select employee groups related to General Motors Corporation plants in Detroit. The credit union held $24.1 million in assets from 6,403 members when it was liquidated.

For the full NCUA release, use the resource link.

CUInsight: Every Voice Counts On Don't Tax Tuesday

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WASHINGTON (9/7/13)--Credit unions, state leagues and the Credit Union National Association are preparing to welcome back the U.S. Congress by re-launching #DontTaxTuesday on Sept. 10, and Paul Gentile, CUNA executive vice president of strategic communications and engagement, emphasized that more and louder credit union voices will be vital to these efforts in a CUInsight.com piece.

The campaign will include a large social media push, in which credit union members and advocates nationwide will Tweet their lawmakers or post on their Facebook page a "Don't Tax My Credit Union" message.
"Every Tweet. Every Facebook post. Every Hill contact. They all matter," Gentile wrote.

Advocates that wish to take part should visit www.DontTaxMyCreditUnion.org starting on Sept. 10, where they will be able to post directly to their lawmaker's Twitter and Facebook accounts.

This is the second time such a one-day all-out online tax advocacy has been launched, and the initial effort, made in Spring of this year, garnered impressive results: More than 2,100 tweets told members of Congress "don't tax my credit union," and these and other messages on Facebook and other platforms exposed early 1.5 million Twitter and Facebook users to the pro-tax status message. "That created quite a buzz in Washington," and CUNA, the leagues and credit unions all heard from legislators and others about the impact that was made, Gentile wrote.

"Bottom line: It worked. Congress heard our message," he said.

The timing for this second big push is critical, Gentile noted. The Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee are both developing comprehensive tax reform bills. These bills could be reported out of the committees later this fall, he added. "While we do not know yet what these bills will include (nor is it clear these bills will be enacted in this Congress), it is critical that the credit union tax exemption remains intact in any legislation moving out of congressional tax-writing committees. Doing so will go a long way to preserving the tax exemption in the long run," Gentile said.

For the full CUInsight.com piece, and more on Don't Tax My Credit Union efforts, use the resource links.