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ATM disclosures NFIP among CU issues in Congress
WASHINGTON (6/26/12)--ATM fee dsiclosures and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) reauthorization remain big issues for credit unions, and both items could see action in Congress this week.

The Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act of 2011 (S. 1940), which would extend the NFIP for five years, could be voted on by the full U.S. Senate later this week.

The NFIP is currently scheduled to expire on July 31. The program has been funded by a series of short-term extensions for some time, and NFIP coverage has also lapsed in recent years. Lapses in coverage can cause significant disruption in the mortgage underwriting process for thousands of prospective homeowners, as lenders, including credit unions, are unable to write certain mortgages without NFIP coverage.

House and Senate members alike have called for the NFIP to be extended and reformed, and the White House on Monday said it supported passage of S. 1940. Debate and possibly a vote on legislation that would maintain the 3.4% federal direct student loan interest rate is expected to happen after the Senate finishes any NFIP action. This bill would not impact private student loan rates.

Student loan legislation is also expected to be discussed in the U.S. House this week.

Credit unions will also want to watch this week for a Wednesday House Financial Services Committee markup of legislation that would end duplicative ATM fee disclosure requirements.

The bill would eliminate portions of Regulation E that require credit unions and other financial institutions that provide ATM services to display a physical notice on the ATM that a fee will be charged. Under the legislation, ATMs would only be required to display the ATM disclosures on a screen, and give ATM users the choice of opting in to such a fee.

CUNA last week said current ATM disclosure requirements are creating issues for credit unions, and preventing those credit unions from more fully serving their members. (See related June 20 News Now story: CUNA in The Hill: ATM disclosure issues harm CU members)

A Senate Banking Committee hearing on financial services issues impacting members of the military and their families is scheduled for today.

The following hearings have also been scheduled:

  • A Thursday House Financial Services insurance, housing and community opportunity subcommittee hearing on the appraisal industry and regulations impacting the single-family mortgage market;
  • A Thursday House Financial Services domestic monetary policy and technology subcommittee hearing on fractional reserve banking (a system in which only a fraction of bank deposits are backed by actual cash-on-hand and are available for withdrawal) and its impact on monetary policy;
  • A Thursday Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing on personal data privacy protections; and
  • A Friday House Financial Services insurance, housing and community opportunity subcommittee hearing on mobile payment services.
The House and Senate will both return home for the July 4 district work period at the end of this week. They are scheduled to return to Washington on July 9, and will not recess again until Aug. 3.

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