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Washington Archive

Washington

CUNA Watching Budget Talks For Tax Impact

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WASHINGTON (10/8/13)--While the pace of business in Washington, D.C. has slowed to a crawl as a result of the massive furloughs of federal workers, the U.S. Congress continues to work--by and large on budget issues. In fact, National Public Radio this morning noted that few, if any, members of the House and Senate have furloughed staff.

The Credit Union National Association is closely monitoring the situation, in part to assess what impact the budget impasse might have on tax reform legislation.

The issue of tax reform is not over for this session of Congress, CUNA Executive Vice President of Government Affairs John Magill reminded on Monday.

"The original October deadline for a tax reform proposal may not be met, but that does not mean that tax reform is dead. It just means the mid-October deadline may be pushed back to a mid-November deadline," Magill said.

"Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and House Ways & Means Committee Chair Dave Camp (R-Mich.) have said they will release a bill--and nothing has changed that," Magill added.

Debt ceiling discussions and other issues could indeed put a vote on tax reform legislation off until next year. However, CUNA Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs Ryan Donovan said the debt ceiling debates and legislation could be used to set up a framework for how tax reform could proceed through Congress. "That could expedite things," he added.

In fact, Donovan said the current 90% disapproval rating that Congress now faces "is unsustainable." And, with all of the U.S. House and one-third of the Senate facing reelection in the 2014 mid-terms, many in Congress may want to demonstrate that they can craft and pass legislation once this current impasse has ended.

As tax reform legislation continues to loom, it is still vital for credit unions to advocate for their tax status, Magill and Donovan said. During CUNA's and the state credit union leagues' "Don't Tax My Credit Union" online rally last week (see resource link), Donovan said tax status advocacy is "a long game," but urged credit unions to get their message out now, while policy is being crafted.

CUNA continues to encourage credit union supporters to use the various "Take Action" tools at www.DontTaxMyCreditUnion.org to show their support via tweets, pictures, vine videos, and emails to their members of Congress, all with the #DontTaxMyCU hashtag.

FFIEC Advises Institutions On Windows XP Support Changes

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WASHINGTON (10/8/13)--Financial institutions and their technology service providers should identify, assess, and manage the potential operational risks associated with Microsoft's upcoming discontinuation of support for its Windows XP operating system, the National Credit Union Administration and its fellow financial institution regulators urged Monday.

The software giant is scheduled to cease Windows XP support on April 8, 2014. The operating system was first released to consumers in 2001.

Financial institutions must "ensure that safety and soundness and the ability to deliver products and services are not compromised" by this change, an NCUA
release said. The release was cosigned by Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) members.

The FFIEC was formed in 1978 to promote uniformity in financial institution regulation. It is comprised of the heads of the NCUA, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Council's State Liaison Committee, and a member of the Federal Reserve Board.

BoA Autodial Settlement Is TCP Act Lesson: Reg Advocacy Report Cautions

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WASHINGTON (10/8/13)--Bank of America recently reached a preliminary $32 million settlement with consumers that alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). In the aftermath of this settlement, the Credit Union National Association has encouraged credit unions to be mindful of any autodialed calls placed to members' cel lphones, which under certain circumstances can violate the TCPA and open the credit union up to liability.

The settlement, as noted in this week's CUNA Regulatory Advocacy Report, is believed to be the largest settlement in TCPA history. Plaintiffs in the case claimed that Bank of America autodialed their cell phones resulting in calls or texts without their prior consent.

The Report noted that courts in many cases have determined that debt collection calls made to cell phones using an automatic telephone dialing system or a pre-recorded voice violate the TCPA if the called party has not provided their "prior express consent" to receiving such calls. The Federal Communications Commission, which issues TCPA rules, has also considered debt collection calls within the scope of the TCPA, the Report said.

This week's Regulatory Advocacy Report also includes:
  • Details on a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau field hearing on the CARD Act, which was attended by CUNA;
  • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's proposed qualified mortgage rule;
  • The Federal Reserve's new consumer compliance supervision program for community banks; and
  • Information on CUNA's attendance of the annual NACHA Councils payments meeting.
A resource chart with information on current CUNA comment calls is also provided in the Report.

For this week's Regulatory Advocacy Report, CUNA members can use use the resource link.

Senate Hearings Set As Congress Works Amid Shutdown

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WASHINGTON (10/8/13)--Small, targeted appropriations bills to fund various agencies and government programs are the likely agenda this week for the U.S. House, as the ongoing government shutdown enters its second week. The Senate has not indicated how they will act on these bills, and while additional pieces of legislation could emerge this week, they have not been added to the schedule just yet.

The legislative schedule is light, but credit unions will want to watch out for the following hearings:
  • A Wednesday Senate Banking Committee hearing on housing finance reform and the multifamily housing finance system; and
  • A Thursday Senate Banking Committee hearing entitled "Impact of a Default on Financial Stability and Economic Growth."
The House Financial Services Committee had scheduled hearings on the status of the National Flood Insurance Program, legislation to further reduce impediments to capital formation, international central banking models and un-banked and under-banked areas. However, these hearings have been postponed due to the government shutdown.

NEW: NCUA Unveils Upcoming CU Exam Changes

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (10/8/13, UPDATED: 4 P.M. ET)--Changes that will streamline credit union examination reports and improve the overall exam process by setting clearer expectations for credit unions and examiners will be introduced on Jan. 1, the National Credit union Administration said in a letter to credit unions (13-CU-09) released this afternoon.

One specific change outlined by the agency is separating the Document of Resolution (DOR) and Examiner's Findings sections of the examination reports into stand-alone documents.

"Separating the DOR and Examiner's Findings documents--and providing descriptive definitions of each document's purpose--will help credit union officials clearly differentiate between major and minor problems in order to prioritize corrective actions," the agency wrote. Examiner concerns and documented support for material problems listed in the examinations will be included in the DOR, along with corrective action plans, the agency added. "This will help credit unions and NCUA implement timely problem resolution of the most critical and material concerns" and "enhance consistency in the exam process," the letter said.

These and other changes will better clarify the priority exam action items to be resolved, reduce redundancy, and ensure consistency, the agency wrote.

For more on the examination changes, watch Wednesday News Now.