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NEW: NCUA 4Q Map Details Financial, Membership Gains For CUs

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (UPDATED: 3/5/13, 1 p.m. ET)--The National Credit Union Administration's quarterly state-by-state review of the financial performance of federally insured credit unions shows that asset growth in the fourth quarter of 2012 was strongest in two states: Iowa and North Dakota.

In the fourth quarter, assets held in Iowa credit unions increased by 11.8%, and North Dakota credit union assets increased by 11.5%, the NCUA numbers showed. Nevada was the only state to post a decline in total assets, reporting a 6.5% drop during that time, the NCUA reported.

"Our analysis shows credit unions are growing as the economy improves, making investments in their members and communities," NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz said. The NCUA's state-by-state analysis of credit union conditions "provides important benchmarks on industry performance at the ground level," she added.

Total loans outstanding, assets, share and deposit growth and delinquency rates are also addressed in the NCUA release. The Credit Union National Association's own analysis of credit union financials showed continued growth in the fourth quarter, and found that loan originations and new-auto loans saw dramatic increases in 2012. (See New Now story: Improving Loan Losses, New Auto Loan Growth Fuel Strong CU Earnings)

Return on average assets (ROAA) increased at federally insured credit unions in 45 states and all territories, and the share of credit unions with positive ROAA rose in 41 states and Puerto Rico, the NCUA reported.

The NCUA map also pinpoints which states have contributed to credit unions' recent membership momentum. Fourteen states, including Virginia, Alabama and Washington, saw credit union membership growth rates of greater than 3%. Most states saw their credit union membership grow by at least 1%.

For the NCUA maps and an agency release, use the resource link.

What's That Buzz: What's Happening With the CUNA Website

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WASHINGTON (3/5/13)--With less than a week to the public unveiling of a new and improved website for the Credit Union National Association, webpage users want to know: What's in it for me?

"One of the first things we want to have pop into the heads of folks visiting our site are the words 'user-friendly.'

"Whether you are a regular user of the CUNA website, an occasional user, or seeing the online CUNA pages for the first time, we want every visit to be defined by ease-of-use.  It was the designing principle behind every change we have made," says Paul Gentile, executive vice president of strategic communications and engagement.

Gentile told credit unions to be ready to tune in to the soon-to-be-launched, updated and improved CUNA website that will feature state-of-the-art navigational tools, a dream search function, and interactive features.

HUD Reportedly Developing Its Own QM Rule For FHA Loans

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WASHINGTON (3/5/13)--The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is reportedly reviewing recently released qualified mortgage (QM) rules, and may publish a QM rule of its own.

Credit Union National Association Associate General Counsel Jared Ihrig noted that the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act gave HUD, the Federal Housing Administration and other agencies the authority to review QM rules released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. They may also issue their own rules if necessary, he added.

Ihrig said any HUD proposal will likely impact credit unions that make FHA loans, and noted that CUNA will watch for future regulatory action in this area.

The CFPB's ability-to-repay rule, with its associated QM definition, were ordered by the Dodd-Frank Act and are intended to curb abusive lending practices, like those that lead to the nation's housing market crash, and to allow responsible lending practices to "flourish." Under the ability-to-repay/QM rule, mortgage loans that meet the criteria for a QM will be afforded a higher degree of legal protection than other mortgages, should a lender be sued by a consumer for noncompliance with the ability-to-repay provisions.

Cordray Nomination, Reg Burden, More Hot Topics Line March Hill Hearing Agendas

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WASHINGTON (3/5/13)--A number of topics of key interest to credit unions are set to be discussed by U.S. House and Senate committees this month.   Sessions are expected to include a confirmation hearing for Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray--perhaps next week--a series of looks at financial regulatory burdens,  and a cyber security hearing.

In early 2012, President Barack Obama appointed CFPB Director Cordray to lead that agency and that recess appointment has been the subject of controversy every since. However, Cordray was recently nominated to continue in his role for a five-year term. Cordray has said his Senate Banking Committee confirmation hearing will be held in the next few weeks. Some outlets have hinted this hearing could be held as early as March 11.

Credit unions also will want to watch for a March 20 House Financial Services financial institutions and consumer credit subcommittee hearing on the growing burden of federal regulations on small financial institutions across the country.

This week, the House Judiciary regulatory reform subcommittee will start off with a Tuesday hearing on H.R. 367, the "REINS (Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny) Act: Promoting Jobs, Growth and American Competitiveness."

Other hearings this week that could include regulatory burden discussions include:

  • A Tuesday House Oversight Committee hearing entitled "Reducing Waste and Mismanagement: Implementing Agency Watchdogs' Recommendations Could Save Taxpayers Billions";
  • A Tuesday House Appropriations financial services and general government subcommittee hearing on U.S. Treasury oversight; and
  • A Wednesday House Appropriations financial services and general government subcommittee hearing on Small Business Administration Oversight.
Bank Secrecy Act compliance and enforcement will be the topic at a Thursday Senate Banking Committee hearing. Treasury under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen, Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry and Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell are scheduled to testify during that hearing.

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee have also scheduled a Thursday hearing. Those two committees will discuss the cyber security partnership between the private sector and the U.S. government, and how that partnership can help protect national and economic security.

Fiscal policy will be examined today by the House Financial Services monetary policy subcommittee.

The House Financial Services capital markets subcommittee will continue that committee's examination of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and additional hearings on the government's role in the mortgage market are scheduled for later in the month. (See Feb. 28 News Now story: Fed Policy, Housing System, Reg Burden On House Financial Services March Agenda.)

NCUA, Agencies Offer Tips During Consumer Protection Week

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WASHINGTON (3/5/13)--The National Credit Union Administration is making use of the declaration of this week as National Consumer Protection Week to highlight the many resources its provides consumers--especially on its two consumer-oriented websites, and Pocket Cents.

"Consumers should take full advantage of these valuable online resources not just during National Consumer Protection Week, but every week during the year," she added. The NCUA chairman also emphasized the importance of consumer empowerment through knowledge of consumer protection laws and access to financial literacy resources.

President Barack Obama proclaimed March 3-9 as National Consumer Protection Week and in a March 1 proclamation called on "government officials, industry leaders, and advocates across the nation to share information about consumer protection and provide our citizens with information about their rights as consumers."

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is also participating in the week by posting a series of consumer advice blogs. Holly Petraeus, CFPB assistant director for servicemember affairs, penned the first of these blogs Monday. She provides servicemembers and others with tips on how best to avoid buyer's remorse when making online purchases.

The Federal Citizen Information Center of the U.S. General Services Administration and the Federal Trade Commission have scheduled an online consumer protection week event: On Wednesday, March 6 at 2:00 p.m. (ET), Twitter users will be able to have their questions about debt collection, identity theft and online security answered by experts. To take part, Twitter users can direct their questions to and use the hashtag #NCPW.

Credit unions, libraries, schools, colleges, city halls, and senior centers across the U.S. are also participating in the consumer protection week. Check out for more information, and use the resource link to visit CUNA's, a consumer website launched a year ago to help consumers find a credit union they can join.

For more information, use the resource links.