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Inside Washington (02/02/2009)
* ALEXANDRIA, Va. (2/3/09)--The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) sent a Letter to Credit Unions (No. 09-FCU-02) reminding them that the agency last November approved an increased 2009 operating fee scale. The scale is used by the agency to determine the operating fee assessed to federal credit unions. The change increased the operating fee scale by 6.77%. The letter also noted that credit unions will be receiving in March an NCUA invoice for their 2009 operating fee and, if required, for the amount needed to adjust National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) capitalization deposits to 1% of insured shares. The fee, assessed based on assets as of Dec. 31, is due to NCUA no later than April 15 … * WASHINGTON (2/3/09)--Financial institutions, including credit unions, may have a long road ahead of them as they comply with new federal credit card regulations. The Office of Thrift Supervision, the National Credit Union Administration and the Federal Reserve Board approved unfair and deceptive credit card regulations Dec. 18 that are slated to go into effect July 1, 2010. The new rules prohibit double-cycle billing and universal default, and prevent institutions from raising interest rates on pre-existing balances unless payments are past due 30 days. The new rules also will prevent credit unions and other financial institutions from treating a payment as late unless a reasonable time is provided from the time a periodic statement is mailed until the payment is due. In addition, when different annual percentage rates (APR) apply to different balances on a credit card account, such as purchases, balance transfers, or cash advances, the final rules require that payments exceeding the minimum payment be allocated to the balance with the highest APR or pro rata among all the balances. Credit unions also are required to comply with recently finalized rules for open-end credit under Regulation Z by July 1, 2010, according to Mike McLain, Credit Union National Association assistant general and senior compliance counsel. The changes are “massive,” and it will likely take credit unions and their vendors all 18 months to comply with both rules, he said ... * WASHINGTON (2/3/09)--Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) introduced a bill Friday that would cap the compensation for Wall Street executives so that their pay is no more than $400,000--which is what President Barack Obama makes, the senator said (CNN.com Feb. 2). Under the bill, salaries, bonuses and stock options would be limited. “You can’t use taxpayer money to pay out $18 billion in bonuses,” she said. Obama has said he would limit executive compensation for financial companies that receive assistance from the Troubled Asset Relief Program ... * WASHINGTON (2/3/09)--The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommended in a report Friday that the Treasury expand its efforts to monitor how recipients of capital infusions from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) are using the money. The GAO noted that the Treasury has taken important steps to implement the agency’s previous recommendations, but that it has “made limited progress in formatting, articulating and communicating an overall strategy for TARP” ...


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