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CUNA urges Meet returning lawmakers with MBL push

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WASHINGTON (7/12/10)—WASHINGTON (7/12/10)—Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney on Friday continued to underscore the urgency of credit unions continuing to make grassroots contacts and to encourage their senators to back legislation that would lift the member business lending (MBL) cap for credit unions. Cheney noted that Congress returns to session this week after a July 4th District Work Break and has only until Aug. 9 before the next district break. He called the next weeks a “critical juncture” for the MBL cap provision and other legislation of interest to credit unions. “Credit unions can add as much a $10 billion in credit for small businesses and 108,000 new jobs—at no cost to taxpayers—if the MBL cap is lifted even just to 25% of total assets. Now is an important time for credit unions to continue make clear to federal lawmakers how the country benefits if this artificial cap—an arbitrary 12.25%--is lifted,” Cheney said. The MBL fight was also taken to home districts over the recently completed work period, with representatives from state leagues and credit unions meeting with their legislators in home offices and public forums. CUNA will continue to make the case for increased MBL authority as the Congress returns to session. Credit union backers are specifically supporting Sen. Mark Udall’s (D-Colo.) amendment to raise the cap to 27.5% of a credit union’s assets. Udall’s provision could be added to a bill that is intended to stimulate more credit for small businesses, and CUNA is urging credit unions to garner senators’ support for the addition to the bill. That bill also proposes to provide community banks provide an extra $30 billion to lend to small businesses through a government-backed, taxpayer-covered lending fund. Another focus of CUNA’s grassroots call-to-action is continued opposition to a provision in the comprehensive financial regulatory relief package, passed by the House and awaiting a Senate vote, that would require the Federal Reserve to set interchange fees. CUNA has opposed the overall reform package because of concerns about the harmful impact that government price-setting of interchange fees would have on credit unions and their members.

Inside Washington (07/09/2010)

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* WASHINGTON (7/12/10)-- Troubled firms won’t be given a second chance--“we will dismember them,” said Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to National Public Radio (July 9). The regulatory reform bill would give the government new power to wind down failing firms. However, economists have questioned if the firms would be allowed to fail or if the government would bail them out. He said regulators would force banks to hold more capital to decrease risk so they don’t take on too many loans ... * WASHINGTON (7/12/10)--West Virginia Attorney General Darrell V. McGraw Jr. has said that state Gov. Joe Manchin III can call for a special election in November to fill a vacancy in the Senate created by the death of Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.). Manchin said he preferred an election to appointing someone to serve through 2012 (The New York Times July 8). Manchin is expected to appoint someone to fill the seat until November. Byrd’s death leaves Democrats two votes shy of passing the Senate version of the regulatory reform bill ... * WASHINGTON (7/12/10)--The fight over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s futures will likely be bigger than the one ensuing over the passage of regulatory reform legislation, said American Banker (July 9). Republicans have criticized the regulatory reform bill because it does not address the enterprises. Democrats have not taken any action to develop a plan for Fannie and Freddie, which are in conservatorship. Last month, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told the Troubled Asset Relief Program Congressional Oversight Panel that the Obama administration plans to release some housing reforms in early 2011. The plans require “fundamental” changes of the enterprises, Geithner said. Banker noted that “most analysts” predict a major housing policy overhaul won’t take place for at least another five years ... * WASHINGTON (7/12/10)--First Lady Michelle Obama noted the importance of several Treasury programs, including the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, during a speech to the Treasury Wednesday. Through the CDFI Program, the CDFI Fund makes financial investments in and provides technical assistance grants to CDFIs and organizations seeking CDFI certification that have business plans for creating demonstrable community development impact within their respective target markets for community development financing purposes. Credit unions are among many CDFIs ... * WASHINGTON (7/12/10)--The nomination hearing for three new members of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System will take place Thursday. The witnesses on Panel I will be: The Honorable Janet L. Yellen, to be a member and vice chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; Peter A. Diamond, to be a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; and Sarah Bloom Raskin, to be a Member of the Federal Reserve System. The witnesses on Panel II will be: Osvaldo Luis Gratacós Munet, to be Inspector General, Export-Import Bank; and Mr. Steve A. Linick to be Inspector General, Federal Housing Finance Agency ...

Treasury iGo Directi another way to fight crime on National Night Out

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WASHINGTON (7/12/10)--The U.S. Treasury's Go Direct direct deposit campaign is urging those that are taking part in the upcoming National Night Out to also promote financial safety by distributing Go Direct campaign and Direct Express fliers at neighborhood events. The National Night Out, which will take place on Aug. 3, brings communities and local law enforcement together to increase crime prevention awareness. Over 36 million people throughout the U.S., U.S. territories, Canadian cities, and U.S. military bases participated in 2009’s National Night Out, according to The Treasury promotes direct deposit through its national Go Direct campaign, and is specifically backing Go Direct as one of many ways that senior citizens and other individuals can “protect their money from financial crimes such as check theft and fraud. The Go Direct campaign is making a number of materials available for distribution, including talking points, newsletter copy, powerpoint slides, and website text. The Treasury recently announced that all federal benefits that are filed on or after March 1, 2011 will be paid electronically via the Go Direct program. For the full Go Direct release, use the resource link.