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Washington Archive

Washington

Congressional Recess Gives CUs Tax-status Advocacy Opportunity

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WASHINGTON (5/28/13)--Credit union supporters can keep up their advocacy efforts by acting locally and speaking up for the credit union tax status and other credit union priorities as members of the U.S. Congress return to their home districts for the Memorial Day district work period, the Credit Union National Association said.

"We need to make sure the importance of maintaining the credit union tax status, and other issues, are at the forefront of legislators' minds as they return to their home districts. Any face time with legislators is time well spent," CUNA Senior Vice President of Political Affairs Richard Gose said.

Tax status advocacy is the clear top priority, as the U.S. House and Senate have made broad-based tax reform a major priority. CUNA has joined with affiliated state credit union leagues to launch a large-scale, nationwide grassroots-mobilization campaign urging credit union members across the country to deliver a united message to the U.S. Congress: "Don't tax my credit union!"

Credit unions are vying with 400 other groups that are also working to preserve their own tax preference, and CUNA has provided several tips to help credit union tax status outreach efforts. CUNA has suggested that credit unions:

  • Encourage members to visit www.DontTaxMyCreditUnion.org where they can watch our educational video and take action to email their member of Congress;
  • Encourage members to download the CUNA Advocacy App for iPhone and Android smartphones; and
  • Work with CUNA and their state leagues to set up Vine campaigns in their credit union branches and offices (see CUNA tax advocacy toolkit for more information on Vine).
"The conversation with them needs to begin now, and our action will need to be sustained at least through the end of the year, perhaps longer. The tax status will not be secure until the process is complete," Cheney said.

CUNA has suggested that credit union supporters can ask members of Congress that already support the tax status to speak with leadership and members of the key tax-writing committees. Credit union comments should focus on the need to maintain the federal tax status, not the fact that credit unions pay state and other taxes. And the message should remain consistent, whether the legislator is a member of the House or Senate: Tell them "Don't tax my credit union."

More information to help credit unions with these efforts is included in a special CUNA tax advocacy toolkit.

To learn more about CUNA's and the leagues' "Don't Tax My Credit Union" campaign, use the resource link.

June 5 'Pressing Issues' Audio Conference Is Free To CUNA Members

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WASHINGTON (5/28/13)--The Credit Union National Association is now offering its second "Pressing Regulatory and Compliance Issues Audio Conference" of the year--free to affiliated credit unions--on June 5.

Next Wednesday's program will feature legislative developments, such as:

  • Tax reform and the threat to the credit union tax status; and,
  • CUNA's efforts in the U.S. Congress to provide regulatory relief to credit unions.
On the regulatory side, the program will discuss issues, such as:

  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB's)  mortgage lending regulations; the status of regulations that become effective June 1; prohibition on financing credit life/disability, debt cancellation products' prohibition on arbitration clauses; escrow accounts for higher-priced mortgages; as well as the status of regulations to be effective January 2014;
  • A Financial Accounting Standards Board proposal on credit losses; and
  • National Credit Union Administration issues, such as prompt corrective action, the new proposal on derivatives authority  and a quick overview of NCUA actions expected in the second half of 2013.
The final two "pressing issues" session are slated for Sept. 5 and Dec. 5. Topics for those audio conferences will be announced as the programs are finalized.

Use the resource link for registration and more information.

Cheney Report: Low Fees, Free Checking Show CU Difference

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WASHINGTON (5/27/13)--Fostering service excellence is a key tenet of the Credit Union National Association's Unite for Good campaign, and CUNA's new 2013-2014 Credit Union Fees Report shows that many credit unions are providing this excellence to their members by offering reasonable fees and free checking.

Offering reasonable fees and free checking "are values differentiators between credit unions and banks," CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney said in this week's edition of The Cheney Report.

According to the CUNA fee report:

  • 80% of credit unions with checking services still offer free checking, compared to 39% of banks;
  • The median overdraft protection fee at credit unions is $25, compared to median fees of $30 at banks and $35 at larger banks; and
  • The average nonmember credit union ATM fee, for those that charge them, is $2.10. Banks on average charge non-customer fees of $2.50 per transaction.

These types of pricing differences, which are rooted in credit unions' structure and philosophy, "really resonate, especially with younger consumers," and present great marketing and media opportunities, Cheney stressed. "More will see us as such knowing we're not the ones pummeling them with fees," Cheney said.

This week's Cheney Report also includes:

  • Tax advocacy tips, and the latest on tax reform efforts;
  • Details on Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act costs for credit unions; and
  • CUNA's new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau remittance rule survey.

Each Friday, The Cheney Report delivers Cheney's insights on three to four key events and policy developments affecting credit unions into the e-mail inboxes of credit union CEOs. The report also provides a valuable window into CUNA's actions on behalf of member credit unions and reinforces the value of CUNA membership.

To sign up for The Cheney Report, click the resource link below and use the "subscribe" tab on the right of the page.

Past issues of The Cheney Report are also archived on cuna.org.

NCUA Lifts Arrowhead Central CU Conservatorship

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (5/27/13)--Last week's announcement that control of the once-conserved Arrowhead Central CU has been returned to its members "is a positive step for the credit union, and a positive sign of the continued improvements in the economy and the credit union system," Credit Union National Association President/CEO Bill Cheney said.

The National Credit Union Administration made the announcement on Friday. Arrowhead is the first credit union since 2007 to emerge from conservatorship, the NCUA noted.

The NCUA took the 116,000 member, $755 million-in-assets credit union into conservatorship in June 2010. At that time, Arrowhead's net worth ratio had fallen to 3%. Then-CEO Larry Sharp and three other senior-level employees were replaced by the agency due to the credit union's declining financial condition.

"From day one, we were dedicated to restoring sound operations and safeguarding members' hard-earned money," NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz said.

The agency said NCUA staff, a new leadership team, and a 10-member advisory board worked together to strengthen Arrowhead's loan underwriting standards, control costs and restore net worth.

The credit union last week reported a net worth ratio of 10.5%, quarterly net income of $5.6 million, and membership of more than 116,000, the NCUA said.

For more, use the resource link.

CUNA Supports Credit Insurance Reg Delay

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WASHINGTON (5/28/13)--In a Friday comment letter, the Credit Union National Association said it supports the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's decision to give financial institutions more time to comply with pending credit insurance premium financing prohibitions. However, CUNA also urged the agency to implement certain consumer protections without delay.

The CFPB has proposed delaying the June 1 effective date of the prohibition on creditors financing credit insurance premiums in connection with certain consumer credit transactions secured by a dwelling, and CUNA backed this delay.

The agency has proposed this delay to further revise the regulation, which CUNA Associate General Counsel Jared Ihrig noted "has produced a great deal of confusion among credit union mortgage lenders."

CUNA, however, supports retaining the existing effective date of June 1, 2013, with respect to actual single-premium insurance amounts which are added at loan origination. "We believe this important consumer protection should be made effective as soon as possible," Ihrig wrote.

CUNA also urged the CFPB to delay the effective date of this provision for insurance premium amounts other than actual single premiums until at least Jan. 10, 2014, when the remainder of the mortgage loan originator final rule is slated to take effect.

For the full comment letter, use the resource link.