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With Congress In Recess, CUNA Eyes Late 2013 Legislative Targets

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WASHINGTON (11/26/13)--The U.S. Congress is in recess during this short Thanksgiving week, but the Credit Union National Association is preparing to continue its work on tax reform and other issues once legislators return.

House members are scheduled to return on Dec. 2, and their target 2013 adjournment date is Dec. 13. Members of the Senate are set to return to Washington on Dec. 9. The Senate has not set a target adjournment date.

Senate tax reform documents released last week addressed international tax reform, tax administration and tax accounting rules, but not credit unions. However, additional components that would round out a broader reform effort, could be released before the end of the year, CUNA Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs Ryan Donovan said.

"The next steps are not immediately clear, but to a large extent the immediate future of tax reform is linked pretty closely to the outcome of the budget conference committee, the debt ceiling and (to a lesser extent) the appropriations process," Donovan added. He said the House seems to be waiting to see the results of budget discussions between Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) before it acts on tax. The budget conference committee has a "deadline" of Dec. 13.

A budget agreement, if reached, could result in the setting of targets, guidelines or instructions for tax-writers to follow in reform legislation. An agreement might also facilitate bi-partisan agreement on key areas of tax reform, Donovan said. "Of course, that scenario is still a long shot with just a few weeks to go in the legislative year," he said. The House will likely wait until early 2014 to take any action on tax reform.

Other items CUNA continues to watch include:
  • Senate housing finance reform legislation that could be introduced in December and marked up in January or February;
  • The Innovation Act of 2013 (H.R. 3309), which could be considered by the House by the end of the year;
  • The Credit Union Share Insurance Fund Parity Act (H.R. 3468), which could be a candidate for the suspension calendar before the end of the year; and
  • The Privacy Notice Modernization Act of 2013 (S.635), which could be considered in the Senate before the end of the year.

NCUA Letter Details CUSO Rule, Compliance Tips

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (11/26/13)--An outline of the National Credit Union Administration's final rule on credit union service organization (CUSO) supervision, and compliance tips for credit unions, are provided in a new agency letter to credit unions (13-CU-13).

The CUSO rule, which was approved at the November NCUA open board meeting, will require CUSOs and their subsidiaries to directly file their financial statements with the NCUA and to forward those reports to state supervisors. The rule is targeted to CUSOs that engage in high-risk or complex activities such as credit lending, information technology and custody, safekeeping and investment management.

The final rule will become effective on June 30. A registry for CUSOs to file their documents with the NCUA will be finalized in late 2015.

While the unique collaborative business model of CUSOs fosters cooperation and shared innovation for credit unions, allowing them to achieve economies of scale, retain expertise, and better serve their members, CUSOs can also pose potentially widespread financial and operational risks to credit unions and the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, the NCUA noted in the letter.

"Without these changes to the CUSO regulations, NCUA cannot fully determine the financial condition of CUSOs, the full range of services offered by each CUSO, an accurate number of CUSOs in operation, or the relationship between a specific CUSO and a specific credit union," the agency explained.

The letter also contains details on the agency's developing CUSO registry, CUSO accounting tips, and information on how the agency rule will address less than adequately capitalized federally insured, state-chartered credit unions.

NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz in the letter recommended that credit unions that have or plan to make a loan to or investment in a CUSO familiarize themselves with the requirements of the final regulations, and contact their regional office or state supervisory authority if there are further questions.

For the full letter to credit unions, use the resource link.

Reg Advocacy Report Updates NCUA, CFPB News(1)

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WASHINGTON (11/26/13)--The latest information on last week's National Credit Union Administration open board meeting, and the Credit Union National Association's recent appeals to that agency for greater regulatory relief, are featured in this week's Regulatory Advocacy Report.
 
This week's edition of the Report also features:
  • Details on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's final mortgage disclosure regulations;
  • News on the NCUA's settlement with JPMorgan Chase; and
  • CUNA's new regulatory information sources, CompNOTES.
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 the resource link.

2013 Holiday Spending Survey To Include New Consumer Spending Question

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WASHINGTON (11/26/13)--The Consumer Federation of America (CFA)/Credit Union National Association consumer holiday spending survey, which will be released for the 14th time on Wednesday, will contain new details on consumer behavior. For the first time, the survey asks consumers how their holiday spending plans have been affected by the recent federal budget controversy.
 
The survey will also include:
  • The latest look at consumers' holiday spending plans;
  • The difference in spending plans among income brackets;
  • Consumer concern about mortgages and making debt payments;
  • How the findings compare to consumer attitudes for the last several years; and
  • How consumer attitudes have changed over the past 14 years.
CUNA Chief Economist Bill Hampel and CFA Executive Director Stephen Brobeck will also provide helpful advice to help consumers manage holiday spending and avoid holiday debt overload when they present the survey.

The CFA/CUNA survey was conducted between Nov. 7 and 10, and is released just ahead of Black Friday and the traditional start of the holiday shopping season.

The release of the survey typically garners heavy media attention from local, national and international news outlets, including ABC News, CNN, National Public Radio, Xinhua, FOX News, Reuters and Business News Americas.