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Washington
CUNA details CU reg burden, patent reform concerns for the record
WASHINGTON (4/8/14)--The Credit Union National Association this week has submitted letters for the record of hearings on two key credit union issues.

In a letter for the record of today's House Financial Services Committee hearing, entitled "Who's In Your Wallet: Examining How Washington Red Tape Impairs Economic Freedom," CUNA said the ever-increasing regulatory burden that credit unions face makes it more difficult for them to promote thrift and provide credit.

Today's hearing will feature testimony from National Credit Union Administration, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency representatives. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. (ET). (See related story: Reg burden, patent troll hearings on tap this week.)

The crisis of increasing regulatory burdens "has contributed to consolidation in the financial services industry and a reduction in the availability of services to consumers and small businesses. New and frequently changing regulations drive costs up for credit unions and their members, making matters worse," CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney said in the letter.

Cheney called on committee members to closely examine the National Credit Union Administration's proposed risk-based capital regulation, calling the rule "one of the most severe threats to credit unions' ability to continue to fulfill their statutory mission.

CUNA also joined a coalition of financial services representatives to submit a second joint letter to the hearing. In that letter, CUNA and others said they fully support the federal government's role in fighting fraud and ensuring the integrity of markets, but are concerned that the overly aggressive enforcement tactics promoted by the Financial Fraud Task Force's initiative "Operation Choke Point" undermine its effectiveness and create serious risks to consumers and the economy.

The Senate Judiciary Committee's is expected to finish marking up its patent reform bill. And patent demand letter abuses will also be a topic as a House Energy and Commerce's subcommittee conducts its hearing entitled "Trolling for a Solution: Ending Abusive Patent Demand Letters."

In a letter to that subcommittee, CUNA urged members of Congress to consider provisions that increase transparency and strengthen disclosure requirements for demand letters, and clarify that the Federal Trade Commission has enforcement authority over patent trolls that operate in unfair or deceptive ways. Minimum disclosure standards would help ensure that only demand letters truly asserting a potentially valid claim of infringement are sent, the CUNA letter said.

CUNA also participated in a patent reform discussion Monday during a Main Street Patent Coalition event on Capitol Hill.


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