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Johnson says CUs interests will be folded into housing reform
WASHINGTON (3/22/12)--Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson said any housing finance reform will keep the 30-year mortgage and include protections for the role of credit unions and community banks.

In a video address to the Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) Wednesday, he noted his committee has held several hearings on the reform subject and is still sorting out options for making changes in the housing finance system.

The South Dakota Democrat also noted that his panel had held a hearing on legislation to raise the cap on member business loans to 27.5% of assets, up from 12.25% of assets.  He didn't state a position but said discussion will continue on it. Last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) promised that there would be a vote on the measure (S.509), which is sponsored by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.)

Johnson also noted in his GAC video address that he had sent letters to the inspectors general of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and other financial regulators requesting information on their examination processes which could form the basis for a discussion on the topic.

Legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House and Senate that would give financial institutions additional avenues of appeal of their examinations. CUNA has testified before a house subcommittee in favor of the Financial Institution Examination Fairness and Reform Act (H.R. 3461), calling it  "a firm step in the right direction toward ensuring the federal financial institution regulatory agencies conduct fair exams, which are consistent with the law and regulation and ensure safety and soundness."  West Virginia Credit Union League President/CEO Ken Watts was CUNA's witness.


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