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CULAC raises $3.25M for '13-14 election cycle

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WASHINGTON (7/8/14)--The Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC) has raised more $3.25 million for the 2013-14 election cycle as of June 30 according to its Federal Election Commission filing to come later this month.
CULAC is the federal political action committee for the Credit Union National Association, with a mission to support credit union-friendly candidates running for federal office.
So far almost $2.5 million has gone directly to candidates, split almost evenly between parties, with 50.01% on contributions going to Democratic candidates, 49.85% to Republican candidates and 0.14% to independent candidates.
"If current trends continue, CULAC will again set another fundraising record this year," said Trey Hawkins, CUNA vice president of political affairs.
CULAC was listed by Politico as one of the top giving PACs this election cycle ( News Now June 25).
According to its Articles of Association, CULAC's purpose is to ""provide the opportunity for individuals interested in the future of the credit union movement to contribute to the support of worthy candidates for federal office who believe, and have demonstrated their belief, in the principles to which the industry is dedicated."

Back in session: Reg effect on equity, Fed centennial

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WASHINGTON (7/8/14)--With both legislative houses back from the Fourth of July break, several full committees will host hearings this week including the Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee.

During a hearing today from 10 a.m. to noon (ET), two panels of witnesses will address "The Role of Regulation in Shaping Equity Market Structure and Electronic Trading" for the Senate Banking Committee.

The first panel will feature Jeffrey Sprecher, founder/chairman/CEO, Intercontinental Exchange Inc.; Kenneth Griffin, founder/CEO, Citadel LLC; Kevin Cronin, global head of trading, Invesco Ltd.; and James Angel, associate professor of finance, Georgetown University McDonough School of Business.

The witnesses on second panel will be Thomas Wittman, executive vice president/global head of equities, NASDAX OMX Group Inc.; and Joe Ratterman, chairman/president/CEO, BATS Global Markets Inc.

The House Financial Services Committee is scheduled to hold a full committee hearing titled "Legislation to Reform the Federal Reserve on its 100-year Anniversary" Thursday.

A notice published on the committee's website did not list any specific legislation to be proposed, nor did it list any witnesses scheduled to speak at the hearing.

The committee chair, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), took aim at the Federal Reserve last December, when he announced the Federal Reserve Centennial Oversight Project, which he said would "undertake the most rigorous examination of the Fed's purposes, policies and track record in its history."

The hearing is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Thursday with a webcast available on the committee's website.

Chicago home to capacity crowd for Thursday's NCUA Listening Session

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CHICAGO (7/8/14)--A capacity crowd of 169 will be at the National Credit Union Administration's second 2014 Listening Session, which will be held in Chicago Thursday after demand boosted registration past its original 150 seats.

The first session took place June 26 in Los Angeles, and while the floor was open to any topic, the NCUA's risk-based capital proposal dominated the discussion. Responding to dozens of questions from credit union advocates at the Los Angeles session, NCUA Chair Debbie Matz said that "everything is on the table" regarding changes to the proposal, and that there is no rush to the finish line when it comes to the proposed rule (News Now June 27).

The Chicago session will be attended by Matz, as well as board member Rick Metsger. Board member Michael Fryzel, who will be succeeded by the recently confirmed J. Mark McWatters, is also expected to be in attendance.

The session will run from 1 to 4 p.m. (CT). It will not be broadcast online, but the NCUA does plan to post recordings of the proceedings on its website over the next few weeks.

A final Listening Session is scheduled 1 to 4 p.m. (ET) July 17 at the NCUA headquarters in Alexandria, Va.

Fed cites success of IFR program, $3.9B back to borrowers

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WASHINGTON (7/8/14)--The Federal Reserve Board of Governors published a report on the Independent Foreclosure Review (IFR) and its replacement payment agreement Monday. The agreement requires large mortgage servicers to provide about $10 billion in payments to eligible borrowers and in other foreclosure prevention assistance.

The Fed and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued enforcement actions against 16 mortgage loan servicers between April 2011 and April 2012. These actions were a result of alleged deficient practices in mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure processing. The actions required correction of servicing practices, and the servicers had to hire independent consultants to determine if borrowers suffered financial injury and were eligible for financial remediation.

The report provides information on the process for the review of the foreclosure files during the IFR and file review results, including servicer error rates during the IFR, up to the time the IFR was replaced. The report also contains updated information on direct borrower payments and discusses the Federal Reserve's ongoing supervision of corrective actions.

According to the report, 50.5% of errors found were classified as "general errors," while 9.3% are related to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, 9.1% were erroneous denials of modifications, 8.9% were related to bankruptcy and 8.5% were as a result of the servicer having failed to provide legally sufficient notice.

Fifteen of the mortgage servicers entered into the payment agreement to provide $3.9 billion in direct cash payments to borrowers, as well as another $6.1 billion in foreclosure prevention assistance, which includes loan modifications and forgiveness of delinquency judgments.

According to a statement from the Fed, the payment agreement "provides the greatest benefit to consumers in a timelier manner than would have occurred under the IFR and ensures that servicers cannot ask or require borrowers to waive any legal claims against their servicer as a condition of payment."

Use the resource link below to view the report in its entirety.

Nonbank mortgage servicers hold risky amount of debt: FHFA inspector general

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WASHINGTON (7/8/14)--The Inspector General of the Federal Housing Finance Agency released a report raising concerns that nonbank financial firms that processing delinquent mortgage payments may lack adequate funding.

This raises the risk for government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The FHFA oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and its report was done to assess the ability of Fannie and Freddie to mitigate risks and monitor performance of the nonbank entities.

The report states that of the 30 largest mortgage servicers, nonbank servicers held 17% of the mortgage servicing market by the end of 2013, up from 9% at the end of 2012. Nonbank special servicers currently hold approximately $1.4 trillion in mortgage servicing rights out of a market of nearly $10 trillion.

Banks that traditionally service mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been selling the rights to service delinquent or defaulted loans in bulk to companies that specialize in handling them. The FHFA reports that these transactions can often go to the nonbank servicers, due to the often labor-intensive nature of the loans.

"Overall, [the Office of the Inspector General] concluded that while FHFA and the Enterprises have responded well to specific problems at nonbank special servicers, the agency has not established a risk management process or overall oversight framework to handle some general risks posed by nonbank special servicers," the report reads.

A primary risk highlighted in the report was nonbank entities' use of short-term financing to buy servicing rights for troubled mortgage loans that may only pay out after long-term work to resolve their difficulties.

The report cites an example of one nonbank special servicer that used this procedure. The servicer lacked adequate infrastructure to handle the loans, leading to consumer complaints and delayed payments to the enterprises. The servicer in question was also operating with limited credit availability.

"Such risks are amplified by nonbank special servicers operating without the same standards and regulation as banks that service mortgage loans. Specifically, the nonbank special servicers do not have the same capital requirements as a bank, which means they are more susceptible to economic downturns," the report reads.

The FHFA is among several regulatory agencies that have identified these concerns about the spiking volume of mortgage loans acquired by nonbank special servicers.

The report recommends that the FHFA issue guidance on "a risk management process for nonbank special servicers and develop a comprehensive, formal oversight framework to examine and mitigate the risks these nonbank special servicers pose."

Use the resource link below for the full report.