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NCUA to investigate release of DC FCU report

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (11/9/11)--The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Tuesday said it would investigate the apparent leak of D.C. Government Employees FCU's credit union examination results. D.C. Government Employees FCU is currently led by Carla León-Decker. León-Decker was nominated by President Barack Obama in mid-October to become a member of the NCUA board.

The NCUA in a release said credit union examination results are confidential information and not for public release under the law.

"This trust has been violated in the case of DC Federal Credit Union," the agency added.

NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz said she is "personally confident" that the credit union's results did not leak from NCUA, but she has asked the NCUA's Office of the Inspector General "to fully investigate this issue, to determine which among the parties with access to the confidential examination information, whether NCUA or the credit union's board or management, took this illegal action."

"Once we have all the facts, we will determine what action is appropriate," Matz added.

The NCUA announcement came after a press report earlier in the day cited examination information that identified such things as DC FCU's CAMEL rating.

CFPB begins mortgage closing form revisions

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WASHINGTON (11/9/11)--The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is continuing its process of combining the federal Truth in Lending disclosures and the required Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) HUD-1 Settlement statement into a single "closing" document, entering the second phase of its Know Before You Owe project relating to mortgage loans.

The model mortgage closing forms are meant to show whether the final loan terms and costs match the terms and costs quoted in the estimate provided after application, and would help determine whether the interest rate or monthly payments could change after closing, according to the CFPB.

"The goal with the new form is to provide information in a clear and simple way that consumers will find easier to use and understand and that industry will find less burdensome," the agency added.

The CFPB has released two separate forms and will ask consumers and finance industry insiders to comment on them and pick a preferred loan form layout.

The forms present the principal, interest rate, and total monthly payment amounts on the front page, and address various closing costs, taxes, fee changes, and other information on subsequent pages. Both of the proposed forms are around five pages in length, , and are "aimed at simplifying the federal disclosures consumers have to tackle at the closing table. Our goal is to help make the costs and risks clear at all stages of the mortgage process – from shopping for a mortgage to signing on the dotted line," de facto CFPB leader Raj Date said in a statement.

The CFPB said it will begin testing the mortgage closing documents this week in Des Moines, Iowa. Three more versions of the new mortgage closing forms will be revised, and then released to the public, between now and February, the CFPB said.

The combined closing form is meant to accompany the CFPB's combined Truth in Lending Act/Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) document. The CFPB's Know Before You Owe project, which began in May, asked for comment on several drafts of a sample combined TILA/RESPA mortgage form. The CFPB is also planning to develop new mortgage regulations once the mortgage disclosure form revision project is completed.

The CFPB said the mortgage reform efforts seek to reduce the paperwork burden faced during the mortgage process by 50%.

CUNA staff met with the CFPB this week to discuss the mortgage disclosure revision project, and CUNA continues to be actively involved in roundtable discussions and other forums with CFPB personnel and others as the drafting and testing phases of the revision process moves forward. For the CFPB release, use the resource link.

CUNAs Cheney Transfer Day Founder Christian interviewed on iFox Businessi

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WASHINGTON (11/9/11)--Consumers and media members nationwide have continued to focus on credit unions' role before, during and after last Saturday's Bank Transfer Day, and Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney appeared alongside Bank Transfer Day organizer Kristen Christian to discuss the movement toward credit unions, and the value they provide to their members, in a Fox Business Channel interview earlier this week.

A CUNA survey released on Tuesday found that credit unions brought in 40,000 in new members on Bank Transfer Day, capping a month that resulted in nearly 700,000 new credit union members joining the movement. Credit unions brought in $80 million in new savings account funds and made $90 million in new loans on Saturday. (See related story: CUs add 40k new members, $80 million in savings on BTD)

"There is clearly traction here, and movement, toward credit unions," Cheney said during the interview.

Describing Bank Transfer Day as a "consumer awakening," Christian said the main motivation behind Bank Transfer Day, in her eyes, was citizens that "are tired of seeing their money used to be distributed to amongst a select group of stockholders, when those profits could easily be used to reinvest in our own communities and stimulate economic growth on the local level."

Cheney said credit unions would "build momentum" following Bank Transfer Day, and added, overall, that he sees a movement toward the nonprofit sector and cooperative businesses.

Cheney also represented the credit union view on SiriusXM Radio's Stand Up with Pete Dominick on Monday and appeared in CNN and ABC News pieces over the weekend. (See related Nov. 8 story: CUNA responds to national quest for more BTD info)

Bank Transfer Day was also covered in hundreds of national and local media outlets, from print media, to television, radio and blogs. Those outlets included MSNBC, NPR Morning Edition, Marketplace radio, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, the New York Times, USA Today, Fox Business Network, Time, and many others.

For more of the recent credit union/Bank Transfer Day media coverage, use the resource link.

CUNA survey 40k members 80M in savings on BTD

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WASHINGTON (11/9/11)--Credit unions brought in 40,000 in new members, and added $80 million in new savings account funds, on last Saturday's Bank Transfer Day, capping a month that resulted in nearly 700,000 new credit union members joining the movement.

A Credit Union National Association (CUNA) survey of 1,100 credit unions found that around 80% of larger credit unions said they signed up new members on Bank Transfer Day, and many credit unions opened on Saturday, or extended their usual Saturday hours, to deal with the rush of new members. Credit unions surveyed said they made $90 million in new loans on Saturday.

CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney said the survey response indicates momentum that credit unions realized in the weeks leading up to Bank Transfer Day continued right into Nov. 5 itself, with a specific spike in membership on that day.

The build up to Bank Transfer Day saw around 650,000 people join credit unions in the last month, adding $4.5 billion in new savings into credit union coffers. The 650,000 total tops the membership total recorded in all of 2010.  "Since Sept. 29 – the day Bank of America announced its now-rescinded monthly $5 debit card fee – average estimated membership increases nationally were around 20,000 new members each day, " Cheney said. "On Saturday, consumers doubled the pace. It's clear that consumers kept up their interest in credit unions."

"Consumers should be given more credit for being smart about what to do with their money," Cheney said. "Many obviously did not wait for a specific day, but took the time to make the change to a credit union in a deliberate manner. Consumers made a smarter choice."

Cheney said the additional lending credit unions realized on Saturday was an especially encouraging sign, for credit unions and consumers. "This nation needs more economic activity to get back on its feet; credit unions are ready and willing to help gets things moving. Perhaps credit unions and their new members got things started on Nov. 5."

Inside Washington (11/08/2011)

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  • WASHINGTON (11/9/11)—Credit unions and other interested parties have until Dec. 1 to comment on new regulatory guidance on flood insurance. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and federal bank regulators have made updates to the interagency questions and answers (Q&As) regarding flood insurance first issued in 2009. Specifically, the agencies have requested comment on two proposed Q&As: When should a lender send a force-placement notice (Q&A 60); and, when may a lender or servicer charge a borrower for the cost of insurance during a 45-day notice period (Q&A 62). The agencies also request comment on the requirement for forced-placement of flood insurance (Q&A 57). The new guidance also finalizes two Q&As from the 2009 guidance that address the insurable value of a building (Q&A 9) and when the lender must have flood insurance if the borrower has not obtained insurance within the 45-day notice period (Q&A 61), and withdraws a Q&A regarding exceptions to insurable value (Q&A 10). CUNA seeks comment by Nov. 25. …
  • WASHINGTON (11/9/11)—The comment deadline is set for Jan. 9, 2012 for the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network's (FinCEN's) proposed rules defining certain housing government-sponsored enterprises as financial institutions for the purpose of requiring them to establish anti-money laundering programs and to report suspicious activities pursuant to the Bank Secrecy Act. The proposal to require these organizations to establish anti-money laundering programs and report suspicious activities is intended to help prevent fraud and other financial crimes. In its Federal Register document FinCEN stated that criminal activity can arise at different times in the product cycle of residential mortgage related transactions, affecting a range of persons in the primary and secondary markets. "In the traditional money laundering sense, criminals may attempt to invest the proceeds of illegal activity in a range of assets, including real estate, such as through direct purchase or in  paying down loans. The purpose of fraud, regardless of whether in conjunction with a mortgage or other real estate related transaction, is overwhelmingly for criminal profit, and the proceeds of such fraud often are laundered through one or more transactions involving financial intermediaries. The victim of mortgage fraud might be an individual losing equity in a home, or a defrauded lender or investor. Fraud may have an impact on the securitization of mortgages, potentially affecting the availability of mortgages and the cost to borrowers," the document notes. Comment may be submitted electronically at or submitted by mail to FinCEN, P.O. Box 39, Vienna, VA 22183. Include 1506-AB14 in the submission and refer to Docket Number FINCEN-2011-0004. …