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Minn. officials CUs discuss foreclosure legislation
ST. PAUL, Minn. (2/9/10)--As the Minnesota Legislature kicked off its 2010 session Thursday, State Rep. Debra Hilstrom (DFL-Brooklyn Center) and Kermit Fruechte of the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, met with credit union professionals and volunteers to discuss the details of mortgage mediation legislation.
Click to view larger image Seeking credit union insight, from left, Minnesota State Rep. Debra Hilstrom (DFL-Brooklyn Center) and Kermit Fruechte of the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office discussed mortgage foreclosure prevention legislation with members of Minnesota Credit Union Network’s Political Involvement Committee on Thursday. (Photo provided by the Minnesota Credit Union Network)
Speaking with members of the Minnesota Credit Union Network’s (MnCUN) Political Involvement Committee, Hilstrom and Fruechte sought credit unions’ support for a bill to help state residents struggling to pay their mortgage. For the past year, the Homeowner-Lender Mediation Act has been a main focus of Minnesota credit unions’ advocacy efforts. Initially introduced in the Minnesota Legislature in 2009, the bill would require financial institutions to enter into mediation with borrowers who are in foreclosure. Throughout last year’s session, MnCUN staff and members of Minnesota’s GrassRoots Education and Action Team worked with elected officials to reduce the legislation’s scope and negative impact on credit unions. While the bill was ultimately vetoed by Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office is pushing again to pass the legislation. At Thursday’s meeting, Hilstrom and Fruechte explained the bill’s provisions and received credit union insight on the issue. In their discussion with credit union representatives, the officials acknowledged credit unions’ efforts to work with members experiencing financial troubles. “Credit unions have not been part of [the mortgage] problem. You really are the people’s bank,” Hilstrom said “You were leaders when it came to the farmers’ crisis in the 1980s, and I am hoping that you will once again rise to the occasion.” During the conversation about the bill, the credit unions provided insight into their operations and asked questions about the legislation. They provided the policymakers important industry perspectives and raised issues not previously considered during the bill writing process. “The fact that Hilstrom and Fruechte desired to hear credit unions’ perspective on this issue demonstrates the value they find in the legislative feedback credit unions provide,” said Mara Humphrey, MnCUN vice president-governmental affairs. During the meeting, “We reinforced the fact that credit unions’ main focus is on serving members, not on making a profit.” The committee provides input and recommendations in the areas of legislative and regulatory efforts at the state and federal level and works with MnCUN staff to form MnCUN’s positions on legislation.
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