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Inside Washington (01/24/2011)
* WASHINGTON (1/25/11)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) backs a recent technical change by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) that formalizes a shift of responsibility of some chartering decisions to its new Office of Consumer Protection (OCP). However, CUNA seeks a one-year review of the change. At its December 2010 open board meeting, the NCUA adopted an interim final rule, effective Dec. 23, meant to incorporate into its rules the transfer of responsibility for the review and approval of certain types of credit union conversions from the Regional Directors to the director of the OCP. The OCP authority includes credit union conversions to mutual savings banks or mutual savings associations and the conversion from National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund insurance to non-federal share insurance. The NCUA action amended the definition of “regional director,” as it applies to the aforementioned types of credit union conversions, to include the OCP. CUNA, in a comment letter submitted Monday to the NCUA, wrote that the new definition is “consistent with the defined role of the director of the OCP.” However, the association asked that the NCUA to execute a one-time annual review of its action defining the role of the director of the OCP in the context of conversions to study if there were any unanticipated ramifications… * WASHINGTON (1/25/11)--The Credit Union National Association has promoted Michael Edwards to senior assistant general counsel. He previously was counsel for special projects. Luke Martone has been promoted to assistant general counsel from regulatory counsel … * WASHINGTON (1/25/11)--Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas), the chairman of the House Financial Services Oversight Subcommittee, said the Treasury Department’s Home Affordable Modification Program and other government-supported modification efforts have failed to help consumers and should be shut down. Neugebauer said the housing market must bottom out before a recovery can begin and government programs are preventing that process. He acknowledged his opinion may not be popular because some consumers would lose their homes, but he added that government programs just delay the inevitable: people who can’t afford homes in the long-term won’t be able to keep them anyway … * WASHINGTON (1/25/11)--Federal agencies are expected to formally discuss their various proposals for mortgage servicing reforms this week, but it remains unclear how they will resolve their differences. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s proposal includes servicing standards that would be included in the risk-retention rule agencies are writing. The latest proposal from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency challenges that plan, calling for a stand-alone rule. The Federal Reserve Board is open to either option, and has sent a draft of servicing principles to Capitol Hill. State attorneys general and the Federal Housing Finance Agency are also contributing ideas to the process. All of the plans call for restrictions on servicing, but any proposal that includes a stand-alone rule servicing rule is at odds with the FDIC proposal. The FDIC plan would also create a special class of highly safe loans--known as "qualified residential mortgages"--that would be exempt from retention. Observers believe that the OCC’s proposal for a stand-alone rule could gain approval more quickly and cover more of the industry. The Fed’s principles include measures to address shortcomings in servicer operations and internal controls …


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