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CUNA: Relief Bill A Good Step Toward CU Charter Modernization
WASHINGTON (7/1/13)--Rep. Gary Miller's (R-Calif.) Regulatory Relief for Credit Unions Act (H.R. 2572), introduced on Friday, "is a good first step toward modernizing the credit union charter," Credit Union National Association President/CEO Bill Cheney said.

In a letter to Miller, Cheney said the bill "recognizes that while credit unions were created for the specific purpose of promoting thrift and providing access to credit for provident purposes, the statute and regulations that govern how credit unions operate are in desperate need of modernization."

Regulatory improvements included in Miller's bill include:

  • Updating credit union investment authorities;
  • Amplifying the National Credit Union Administration's authority to implement a risk-based capital regime;
  • Providing the agency with flexibility to adjust leverage requirements;
  • Allowing the NCUA to adjust capital requirements as needed; and
  • Clarifying the insurance coverage of funds held in trust accounts at credit unions.
The bill would also request the NCUA to perform a cost-benefit analysis of rules, past and present. The Government Accountability Office would also study the need for improvements and modernization to the Central Liquidity Facility under the terms of the bill.

"Credit unions wholeheartedly thank Rep. Miller for acting on their great need for regulatory relief so fewer resources are diverted from their true business of serving their members," Sam Whitfield, Credit Union National Association vice president of legislative affairs, said as CUNA welcomed the bill. He added CUNA's appreciation that Miller included CUNA in the development of his legislation.

Miller's bill will likely be joined by other regulatory relief legislative initiatives coming out of the financial services panel this year.

Other Financial Services Committee members are said to be preparing to offer bipartisan regulatory relief bills and are working to find for areas where credit union and community bank interests may intersect in a bill. CUNA has assured lawmakers that such areas exist; for instance, one such area is examination fairness legislation.

During a hearing in March, CUNA delivered a 35-point plan for credit union regulatory relief to federal lawmakers. Among changes promoted by CUNA are:

  • Increasing NCUA budget transparency;
  • Adjusting the treatment of non-owner occupied one- to four-family dwelling loans for credit unions from business loans to residential real estate loans;
  • Increasing the maturity limit for higher education loans made by federal credit unions; and
  • Expanding investment authority in credit union service organizations.
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