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CU exec among new Fed advisory groups members

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WASHINGTON (1/6/09)—Credit union executive Randy Smith was named last week by the Federal Reserve Board to a two-year term on the agency’s Thrift Institutions Advisory Council (TIAC). Smith, who is president/CEO of Randolph-Brookes FCU in Live Oak, Tex., was one of six new members named to the advisory group, comprised of 12 individuals from savings and loan associations, savings banks, and credit unions. Smith is a recent trustee of the Credit Union Legislative Action Counsel, the political action committee of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). He served on the CUNA Governmental Affairs Committee from 2000 to 2004, and was part of the National Credit Union Roundtable Advisory Council from 2006 to 2007. He was named to the CUNA Mutual Group board of directors last June. Smith will be the second credit union representative on the advisory board, joining former CUNA Board Member Christopher Jillson, whose TIAC term ends Dec. 31, 2009. Jillson is president/CEO of Sandia Laboratory FCU, Albuquerque, N.M. and a former CUNA Federal Credit Union Subcommittee chairman. Harriet May was another credit union representative on the advisory panel until her term expired Dec. 31. May is president/CEO of GECU of El Paso, Tex. and is a CUNA Board member. TIAC was established by the Fed Board in 1980. It meets three times each year with the Board of Governors to discuss developments relating to thrift institutions, the housing industry, mortgage finance, and regulatory issues. In addition to Smith, the new TIAC members, named for two-year terms that began Jan. 1, are:
* Barrie G. Christman, chairman of Principal Bank, Des Moines, Iowa; * Richard G. Harwood, president/CEO, Newport Federal Bank, Newport, Tenn.; * Kay M. Hoveland, president/CEO, Kaiser Federal Bank and K-Fed Bancorp, Covina, Calif.; * Richard J. Green, CEO, Firstrust Bank, Conshohocken, Pa.; and * William R. White, chairman/CEO, Dearborn FSB, Dearborn, Mi.

House TARP hearing postponed

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WASHINGTON (1/6/09)—A Jan. 7 hearing to review the U.S. Treasury Department's to-date use of the $700 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program funds scheduled by the House Financial Services Committee has been postponed. In a release, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the committee, gave no reason for the delay but did say he would announce a new time and date for the hearing. A witness list had not yet been made public. Frank has been critical of some aspects of the Treasury’s implementation of the TARP program, and even recently questioned specifically the impact on credit unions of that department’s choice not to use TARP funds to purchase troubled assets. (See related story: Frank wants CUs to have relief source.) The committee’s Jan. 9 hearing on the Federal Housing Administration's oversight of home mortgage loan originators remains on the schedule.

Noon today 111th Congress convenes

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WASHINGTON (1/6/09)—Although many federal lawmakers have not been waiting for the formal start of the 111th Congress to get to work on the country's pressing issues, the official beginning of the new session is noon today. According to Ryan Donovan, the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) vice president of legislative affairs, the schedule on Capitol Hill looks like this: The House today will hold a Quorum call vote to launch the 111th Congress. Following the Quorum call, the chamber will proceed to the election of the Speaker of the House, swear-in all members of Congress, and adopt a Rules package that will govern the proceedings for the 111th Congress. The Senate will also convene on Tuesday to swear-in new Senators and conduct organizational business. While the Senate has not announced its legislative schedule for the remainder of the week, the House is expected to consider two jobs bills. Also, on Thursday, the House and the Senate will meet in Joint Session to count the electoral ballots for President and Vice President of the United States. The inauguration of Barack Obama as the country’s 44th President is, of course, Jan. 20. "In any other inaugural year, Congress would recess between its opening day and the presidential inauguration," Donovan said. "But, given the condition of the economy, this is no ordinary year. Congress will be in session from now until the Presidents Day district work period." He added, "It promises to be a long legislative year, and once the economic stimulus bill is enacted, Congress will be focused squarely on the financial services sector." The first district work period of the year will be the week of Feb. 16, President’s Day.

NCUA announces another unscheduled closed meeting

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (1/6/09)--For the third time in four months, the National Credit Union Administration has announced a previously unscheduled closed Board meeting. This one is set for Jan. 8. The agenda carries one item: Consideration of supervisory activities. Closed pursuant to Exemptions (8) and (9). The next regularly scheduled open and closed NCUA board meetings are Jan. 22. Historically, the agency releases an open board meeting agenda one week prior to that session. The Credit Union National Association’s News Nowwill provide live updates via LiveWire, providing instantaneous alerts to your desktop or mobile device.

Inside Washington (01/05/2009)

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* WASHINGTON (1/6/09)--The Treasury Friday released the program description for the Targeted Investment Program as required by the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act. The department has already invested $20 billion in Citigroup under the program (Forbes Jan. 2). The objective of the program is to foster financial market stability. Financial institutions will be considered for participation on a case-by-case basis. There is no deadline for participation ... * WASHINGTON (1/6/09)--On Friday, the Treasury released a report stating that it is exploring the use of the Asset Guarantee Program (AGP) to help Citigroup. The Treasury and Citigroup announced Nov. 23 that the Treasury would assume second-loss position after Citigroup on some mortgage-related assets. Under the AGP, the Treasury would assume a loss position on selected assets. It also would collect a premium. Participants’ eligibility would be determined on a case-by-case basis ...

Frank wants CUs to have relief source

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WASHINGTON (1/6/09)—House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) recently wrote to the head of the Federal Reserve Board to relate his concern that the U.S. Treasury Department’s decision not to use its relief funds to buy troubled assets may particularly hurt credit unions. Frank told Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke that Treasury’s “misguided decision” not to use Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds to buy underwater assets may cause credit unions to lose a chance “to make progress in diminishing the number of foreclosures.” “Therefore,” Frank said in a Dec. 23 letter, “I was pleased that you supported the National Credit Union Administration’s ability to use the Central Liquidity Facility (CLF) for its new initiatives to provide liquidity into the credit unions system, specifically into the corporate credit unions.” The letter noted CU HARP, designed to assist homeowners who are facing mortgage delinquency, default or foreclosure, and CU SIP, intended to provide additional liquidity to the corporate credit union system. Frank added that he would appreciate the Fed chairman’s continued support for maintaining the removal of a statutory cap on the CLF’s borrowing authority, as well as Bernanke’s “continued flexibility” to respond to similar future proposal “when they serve the national best interest.”