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CUs key relief bill introduced in Senate
WASHINGTON (5/2/08)--Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) introduced a Senate version of the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act (CURIA, S. 2957) Thursday, putting the key credit union legislation a giant step forward in the legislative process. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) lauded Lieberman’s action saying the senator has “demonstrated determination and conviction in his support for consumer-owned credit unions” by introducing his bill. CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica said, “Through his action, consumers have the hope of more choices in services, as well as the promise of continued strength, for the credit unions that they own and direct. “Our sincere thanks and gratitude to Sen. Lieberman. We look forward to working with him, and other senators, as this important legislation gains support and eventual passage in the Senate,” said Mica.
Click to view larger image U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), left, and CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica backstage before Lieberman addressed the March 6 closing closing general session of the 2008 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington. (Photo provided by Robert Knudsen)
It was at the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference in March that Lieberman said he recognized the importance of the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act to credit unions and pledged to be an original sponsor of a Senate version of H.R. 1537. The House bill currently sports the names of 149 members of the House as its official sponsors. Among changes proposed by the bill, which is substantively identical to the House version, CURIA would:
* Clarify the 1998 Credit Union Membership Access Act to allow all credit unions, regardless of charter type, to serve those in underserved areas. The bill would also update the definition of an underserved area, incorporating definitions from the Community Development Financial Institutions Act and the New Markets Tax Credit; * Increase the current cap on loans to members for business purposes (MBLs) from 12.25% to 20% of assets, allowing credit unions to assist more members start and expand small businesses and to promote economic growth. The bill would also exempt loans under $100,000 and those to nonprofit religious organizations from the MBL calculation; * Establish additional consumer safeguards in the event of a credit union conversion to another form of financial institution; and * Reform the National Credit Union Administration's original prompt corrective action system to a risk-based approach more closely resembling the current Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. capital standard for banks.


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