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NCUA announces July CU workshops roundtables

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (6/16/11)—The National Credit Union Administration's (NCUA's) Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives has scheduled a series of credit union workshops for July. The workshops will focus on:
* Issues facing credit unions; * NCUA--Consumer Protection Office--What It Means To You; * Duties of federal credit union boards of directors (NCUA Regulations 701.4); * Basic financial literacy requirements; * Due diligence and evaluating payment system service providers; and * Examination issues.
Little Rock, Ark., will host the first July credit union roundtable on July 8, with workshops following in New Orleans, La., on July 9; Louisville, Ky., on July 14; Tampa, Fla., on July 22; and Albany, N.Y., on July 23. The agency also announced a workshop will take place on June 22 in Erie, Pa. Additional roundtables and workshops are scheduled through November. Use the resource link for registration information.

More MBLs mean stronger economy CUNA will testify

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WASHINGTON (6/16/11)--Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney today will urge members of the Senate Banking Committee to let credit unions help small businesses and the larger American economy by lifting the credit union member business lending cap. The committee hearing, which is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. ET, will focus on Sen. Mark Udall’s S. 509. That bill would lift the MBL cap from 12.25% of assets to 27.5% of total assets. Lifting the cap would inject $13 billion in funds into the economy, creating over 140,000 new jobs, CUNA has estimated. Increasing credit union MBL authority will give small businesses greater affordable financing options, and will offer funding to the small businesses that have all too frequently been turned down by banks. Also, Cheney is expected to note that increasing credit union lending will not only aid economic growth, it will help credit unions increase their earnings, capital contributions, and safety and soundness by allowing them to shift their assets from low-yielding investments into higher-yielding member business loans. The list of S. 509 cosponsors recently grew to 19 with the early June addition of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Similar legislation introduced last year had 15 co-sponsors, but the yearly Senate calendar ended before it could come up for a final vote. A House version of MBL cap lift legislation was introduced earlier this year by Reps. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.). The House legislation, known as the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act, has 36 additional cosponsors. For more on the hearing, use the resource link.

Data security scrutiny returns to Congress

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WASHINGTON (6/16/11)--The Secure and Fortify (SAFE) Data Act, which would establish uniform nationwide standards for data security and data breach notification, was discussed during a Wednesday House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on commerce, manufacturing and trade hearing. Subcommittee chairwoman Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) introduced a discussion draft of the legislation earlier this week. The bill would require entities that are impacted by a security breach to alert the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and consumers of the issue. This alert would need to be provided within 48 hours after the issue has been dealt with and the scope of the breach has been determined. The FTC could impose civil penalties against entities that do not comply with this timeline. In opening statements delivered on Wednesday, Bono Mack said that electronic commerce “is a vital and growing part” of the U.S. economy, and said that Congress “should take steps to embrace and protect it,” starting with “robust cyber security.” The subcommittee chairwoman added that the legislation builds on a bill that passed the House in 2009, but was never taken up by the Senate. The Credit Union National Association at that time supported allowing financial institutions to charge retailers for any costs incurred by the financial institution that is forced to notify its accountholders following a data breach, and encouraged legislators to allow financial institutions to disclose the source of the breach or loss to affected accountholders. Doing so would allow credit unions and other financial institutions to inform affected individuals while continuing to protect their own reputations. For more on the hearing, use the resource link.

Inside Washington (06/15/2011)

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* WASHINGTON (6/16/11)--Senate Democrats are calling on the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) to take a tougher approach with bank foreclosure practices. Twelve senators sent a letter to Acting Comptroller of the Currency John Walsh Tuesday urging him to enact strict regulations for mortgage servicers. The letter called on the OCC to work with other federal and state officials to develop a comprehensive fix to problems in banks’ home-foreclosure practices. “We urge you to take every opportunity to ensure that servicers not only account for past harms, but also take steps to prevent future servicing deficiencies so that homeowners going forward are treated fairly,” the letter said. The lawmakers also asked the OCC to consider servicing standards proposed by state attorneys general and to incorporate legislation that will improve the foreclosure process and help more homeowners avoid foreclosure… * WASHINGTON (6/16/11)—The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has hired Christopher C. Haspel, director of the monitoring division at the Government National Mortgage Association, though Haspel’s role at the bureau has not been defined (American Banker June 15). At Ginnie Mae, Haspel was responsible for servicing and securitization. He previously worked at BlackRock Inc., General Electric Co., Capital One Financial Corp. and Fannie Mae. The CFPB has hired about 220 people, with plans to double that number within two months … * WASHINGTON (6/16/11)--Whether the Dodd-Frank Act adequately addressed the “too big to fail” issue will not likely be determined until the next financial crisis. During a house Financial Services Committee hearing Tuesday, lawmakers argued over several issues that have yet to be determined by the market, such as which institutions are systemically significant and how regulators will supervise such firms (American Banker June 15). Success will depend on the market’s perception of how effective the Treasury Department is in handling systemically significant institutions, said Christy Romero, the acting special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Mandatory living wills for the biggest institutions and new powers granted to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., will stop the government from bailing out large banks again, Democrats said. But by identifying systemically important firms, Dodd-Frank has made “too big to fail” more clear, rather than eliminating it, Republicans countered …