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Fed adjusts asset threshold for HMDA

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WASHINGTON (12/26/07)--The Federal Reserve Board published last week its annual notice and final rule of the asset-size exemption threshold for depository institutions under Regulation C, which implements the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA). The adjustment is effective Jan. 1. The asset-size exemption for depository institutions will increase from $36 million to $37 million based on the annual percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers for the twelve-month period ending in November 2004. Financial institutions with assets of $37 million or less as of Dec. 31, 2007 will be exempt from the data collection requirements 2008. An institution's exemption from collecting data in 2008 does not affect its responsibility to report the data it was required to collect in 2007, according to Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Senior Assistant General Counsel Jeff Bloch. HMDA and the Board's Regulation C require most depository institutions and certain for-profit, nondepository institutions to collect, report and disclose data about applications for, and originations and purchases of, home mortgage loans, home improvement loans and refinancings. Data reported include the type, purpose, and amount of the loan; the race, ethnicity, sex and income of the loan applicant; and the location of the property. The purposes of HMDA include helping to determine whether financial institutions are serving the housing needs of their communities and assisting in fair lending enforcement. Use the link below to access the Fed’s notice.

Credit card bills float in Washington

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WASHINGTON (12/26/2007)--The Credit Union National Association is tracking two bills floating on Capitol Hill that would prohibit several ways credit card companies charge fees and raise rates. House Financial Institutions Subcommittee Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) plans to introduce early in 2008 a bill that would protect consumers from double-cycle billing and any rate or fee adjustments not covered in the contract, reports the Dec. 21 American Banker newspaper. Provisions of the yet-to-be-introduced House bill also would ban universal default on outstanding debt. In May, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), with co-sponsor Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), introduced the Stop Unfair Practices in Credit Cards Act (S. 1395), which would, in part:
* Prohibit interest on debt paid on time; * Prohibit interest charges on any portion of a credit card debt which the card holder paid on time during a grace period; * Prohibit added interest charges on credit card debt which the card holder paid on time and in full; * Limit on penalty interest; * Allow interest rate increases only to future debt; and * Prohibit the charging of interest on credit card transaction fees, such as late fees and over-the-limit fees.
Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Legislative Affairs Vice President Ryan Donovan, who is reviewing the legislation, said the credit card issue will be a high priority for both the House and Senate committees in the first three or four months of next year.

Inside Washington (12/21/2007)

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* WASHINGTON (12/26/07)--Peggy Nalls, Missouri Credit Union Association senior vice president of public and legislative affairs, attended a meeting in Kansas City Dec. 18 with Treasury Department Secretary Henry Paulson. Paulson held the meeting to discuss foreclosure prevention. “It is clear that governmental agencies are working to avoid creating legislation to fix the subprime meltdown,” Nalls said. “However, it was also very clear that there is an expectation that the government will expect us, the industry, to step up to the plate to eliminate fraudulent and unfair practices, as well as help consumers remain in their homes.” Paulson said the government’s objective is to help avoid foreclosures to prevent negative impacts to consumers, neighborhoods and the home and mortgage industry (Legislative Updates Dec. 21) …