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Myers to head NCUA Small CU Office

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (5/6/11)--Community development credit union expert William Myers will bring “extensive knowledge of issues affecting small credit unions, proven expertise in community development, and demonstrated strategic leadership skills” to the National Credit Union Administration’s (NCUA) Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives (OSCUI) when he takes over that office as director on June 6. NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz in a Thursday release added that Myers is “nationally recognized for his exceptional and creative work supporting small credit unions throughout the country.” Myers, who hails from Ithaca, N.Y., founded Alternatives FCU in 1979 and grew that credit union to one that held $50 million in assets from 8700 low-income members in his eight years as leader. Myers was also involved in the Credit Union National Association’s 2000 Renaissance Commission, a group that explored credit unions’ role in the 21st century. More recently, Myers served as the interim CEO at Santa Cruz Community CU. He has also served as a senior fellow at the nonprofit Aspen Institute, where he consulted on credit union economic development. The incoming OSCUI director has also owned and moderated the Community Development Banking list for 17 years. The OSCUI administers the NCUA’s Community Development Revolving Loan Program and aids small credit union development and member service. For the full NCUA release, use the resource link.

SBAAgility team up for preparedness webinar

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WASHINGTON (5/6/11)--Agility Recovery Solutions and the U.S. Small Business Administration will present a joint webinar, entitled “Protecting Your Business This Hurricane Season,” on May 17 at 2:00 P.M. ET. The webinar will be hosted by Weather Services International Senior Meteorologist Ben Papandrea and Agility Recovery Solutions Vice President Paul Sullivan. Papandrea will reveal his 2011 hurricane forecast, and Sullivan will cover best practices for disaster preparedness. Sullivan’s presentation will give tips on protecting small businesses, customers and employees. The webinar will also feature a question and answer session. Agility is a Credit Union National Association strategic alliance provider. To register, use the resource link.

44 GOP senators call for increased CFPB accountability

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WASHINGTON (5/6/11)—A group of 44 Republican senators in a Thursday letter to President Barack Obama said that they would not confirm any potential Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) director, “regardless of party affiliation,” unless structural changes are made to the bureau. Among the modifications suggested by the legislators are replacing a single CFPB director with a multiple-member board, subjecting the CFPB’s funding to the congressional appropriations process, and establishing “a safety-and-soundness check for the prudential financial regulators.” The senators said that the CFPB director “will have a profound influence on the future of our economy and job creation,” and added that they want to ensure that this influence is not used for political purposes. The House Financial Services subcommittee on financial institutions and consumer credit addressed some of the senators’ CFPB concerns on Wednesday, approving a trio of bills that it maintains would "strengthen consumer protection and bring transparency, oversight and accountability" to the CFPB. As reported in March, Elizabeth Warren, the Obama administration official tasked with setting up the CFPB, appreared before a House Financial Services subcommittee to defend the CFPB against complaints that it lacks transparency. She said the new consumer protection bureau is the nation’s most accountable financial regulator, the only one, she has noted, the rules if which can be overruled by a group of other agencies. The approved by the subcommittee are:
* H.R. 1315, which would modify the voting procedure of the Financial Stability Oversight Council when voting to stay or set aside rules finalized by the CFPB; * H.R. 1121, which would replace the single CFPB director with a five-member Consumer Financial Protection Commission; and * H.R. 1667, which would delay the transfer of consumer protection functions to the CFPB if a director is not in place by the July 21 start up date.
The three bills are scheduled to come up for a vote in the full House Financial Services Committee on May 12.

Separate CU scrutiny needed for TILA-RESPA form CUNA

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WASHINGTON (5/6/11)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) underscored the credit union difference in a recent comment letter submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB transition team is seeking OMB approval to conduct a study to gain consumer and mortgage industry perspectives on a draft form that combines mortgage disclosures under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). The combined form is required under the Dodd-Frank Actand and is intended to reduce mortgage lender regulatory burden and make mortgage disclosures less confusing to consumers. CFPB has proposed to conduct one-on-one interviews regarding its draft version of the combined TILA-RESPA form with consumers and representatives of mortgage lenders and mortgage brokers. CUNA urged, however, that the CFPB outreach include a separate interview panel comprised solely of credit union lending professional. CUNA wrote that credit unions--as not-for-profit cooperatives organized to promote thrift and make loans to members at reasonable rates of interest--are different from for-profit banks and non-depository mortgage lenders, as well as different from mortgage brokers. CUNA also recommended that once the proposed impact study is completed and changes are made to the draft form, a revised draft of the mortgage disclosure form should be subject to additional CFPB outreach to credit unions and other small financial institutions. This subsequent review should be conducted under provisions of Dodd-Frank that made the CFPB subject to the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) panel outreach process. A SBREFA panel, comprised of one representative each from CFPB, OMB, and the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, is required by Dodd-Frank to solicit input from small entity stakeholders prior to the issuance of a CFPB proposed rule that would impact a significant number of credit unions and community banks. The panel is charged with making recommendation to CFPB on how to reduce regulatory burden on small entities. See the resource link below for the Comment Letter.

Inside Washington (05/05/2011)

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* WASHINGTON (5/6/11)--Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the permanent subcommittee on investigations, and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) formally referred an investigative report that found Goldman Sachs Group Inc. misled clients about mortgage-linked securities to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Levin said in an interview Tuesday (American Banker May 5). The 600-page report is the product of more than two years of work by the subcommittee. It includes 19 new recommendations to curb Wall Street excesses and conflicts of interest. In an April blog post, Levin said he expects many of those recommendations to be opposed by the financial services industry. The report found Wall Street firms guilty of “reckless risk-taking and rampant conflict of interest,” Levin wrote in the blog. James Cox, a professor at the Duke University School of Law, said he was doubtful that the examinations by the agencies will lead to new claims against Goldman, which last year paid $550 million to settle SEC claims related to its marketing of collateralized debt obligations …