* WASHINGTON (8/23/10)--National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Board Member Michael E. Fryzel met last week with delegates from Uzbekistan at the Illinois Credit Union League’s office in Naperville, Ill.
The event was part of an exchange program administered by the Council of International Programs Chicago to give the delegation an opportunity to learn about U.S. credit unions, their supervision and management role in the financial system, and their relationship with the federal and state governments and credit union associations and different institutions supporting the development of credit unions. “It is my hope that the information they receive will assist them in overcoming the challenges facing the credit union system of Uzbekistan and help them create a thriving structure for their members,” Fryzel said. (Photo provided by the National Credit Union Administration) ... * WASHINGTON (8/23/10)--Community Reinvestment Act data released by regulators Thursday indicate that the credit crisis has triggered a slowdown in lending. The report, which has data from 941 lenders, said small business loans originated or purchased in 2009 dropped 42% from the previous year--to 6.2 million. The value of the loans fell 30%, to $206 billion (American Banker
Aug. 20). Small loans to farms dropped 29%, and the amount of those loans fell 18%. The total amount of community development loans originated or purchased dropped 52%, to $34.7 billion. Regulators said this was due to the high number of loans purchased in 2008. Total community development originations dropped 29%, to more than 15,800 ... * WASHINGTON (8/23/10)--Housing’s hold on government policy won’t weaken, according to a news analysis in The Wall Street Journal
(Aug. 20). The “foreclosure wave” could subside by the end of 2011, which reduces the need for the government’s intervention. Foreclosures likely will continue to fall, even if the economy continues to struggle, the newspaper said. However, chances that the government will retreat from the housing sector are slim. Government entities back all new mortgages, while banks guarantee almost zero because few borrowers will take out mortgages from those banks when the government is offering 30-year fixed-rate loans with low rates. For the housing market to recover completely, it must draw participation from investors or private banks, the analysis said. That may not happen until Fannie and Freddie are “scaled back” and the housing market clears, the newspaper added ... * WASHINGTON (8/23/10)--The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) has been granted supervisory powers over large companies the Federal Reserve Board oversees, and financial observers are questioning the dynamics of FDIC’s and Fed’s relationship. Douglas Landy, former Fed lawyer, said he could see a “rocky road” ahead because it’s “difficult to bring in people whose agenda is not exactly the same as yours,” he told American Banker
(Aug. 20). Under the reform bill, the FDIC can examine systemically important financial institutions with more than $50 billion in assets. The agency has received backup enforcement authority over bank holding companies that pose a risk to the Deposit Insurance Fund ...
WASHINGTON (8/23/10)--UW CU Chief Credit Officer Mike Long will be among those speaking at a Sept. 16 Federal Reserve Board hearing on the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) and Regulation C. The hearing, which will take place in Chicago and will feature testimony from credit union and bank representatives as well as academics, regulators and consumer groups, is the third in a series. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) suggested that Long be included as a panelist at this hearing. Recent public hearings on the HMDA rules were held in Atlanta and San Francisco, and a fourth hearing will be held on Sept. 24 in Washington, D.C. American Airlines FCU's Vice President and General Counsel Faith Anderson and State Employees CU Senior Vice President Phil Greer, both of whom were recommended by CUNA, testified at the Atlanta hearing. The hearings are meant to evaluate whether the 2002 revisions to Regulation C, which required lenders to report mortgage pricing data, helped provide useful and accurate information about the mortgage market. The hearings are also aimed at helping the agency assess the need for additional data and other improvements and identify emerging mortgage market issues. The HMDA requires mortgage lenders to provide detailed annual reports of their mortgage lending activity to regulators and the public. The Fed has asked for input on what types of data should be excluded or eliminated, and if any existing data elements should be modified. The Fed has also requested comment on whether some types of institutions or mortgage loans should be excluded from HMDA reporting. While the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will be responsible for making future changes in HMDA, information provided by panelists at these hearings will be considered by the CFPB as part of this process, Jeff Bloch, CUNA senior assistant general counsel, said.
WASHINGTON (8/23/10)--The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has “the power to pursue legal claims” against private firms that shifted their losses onto Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and should "use this power aggressively,” Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said on Friday. In a letter to President Barack Obama, Frank said that while some of the $150 billion in losses suffered by Fannie and Freddie were due to “honest but flawed” business decisions, “some of these losses result from deception.” Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.), along with Reps. Brad Miller (D-N.C.) and Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), expressed similar sentiments in an Aug. 13 letter to President Obama. Deals in which private companies created “private profits at public expense” should “be fought with every tool at the companies’ and the agency’s disposal,” Frank said. “These deals must not be allowed to get lost in the shuffle,” he added. Frank and Kanjorski have scheduled a slate of housing finance hearings for September, and the administration held its own hearing on that topic last week. (See related News Now story: "Treasury outlines administration's critical housing issues," Aug. 18)
WASHINGTON (8/23/10)--Although some credit unions officials who have been anticipating about 200 new rules to come out of the recently enacted Dodd-Frank regulatory reform law may find little comfort in this number, the Credit Union National Association has culled through the act’s 2,000 pages and found the number of whole, new rules that affect credit union may be closer to 35. Even an investigation as careful and thorough as CUNA’s, however, cannot at this time reveal a precise number, says the group’s deputy general counsel, Mary Dunn, because the law is complex, some of its language is vague, and the regulatory process itself generally takes twists and turns that may consolidate or add rules. CUNA has produced a comprehensive chart, to appear in its members-only, bi-weekly publication, Credit Union NewsWatch Aug. 23, that delineates the sections and provisions of the new law that most affect credit unions and specifies any known, upcoming rulemaking dates. There are sections on debit interchange fees, consumer protection laws, new requirements for mortgage lending and disclosures, and payments and settlement, and more. “As the Dodd-Frank law is activated through the rulemaking process, rest assured CUNA’s chief objectives will be to fight for interchange income and protect against undue regulatory burden--as much as we possibly can,” Dunn pledged. For CUNA members not yet subscribers, use the resource link below to sign up for your free online subscription of Credit Union NewsWatch to begin with the Aug. 23 issue. The issue will be available after noon eastern time. Also, sign up for CUNA’s two-part audio conference on regulatory reform issues.
WASHINGTON (8/23/10)--Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney last week urged President Barack Obama to include support for legislation that would lift the cap on credit union member business lending (MBL) as he continues to publicly back a Senate job creation bill. Obama’s support for the MBL legislation, which has met opposition from community bankers, “would provide a critical boost to the efforts in Congress to help credit unions facilitate the creation of jobs across the country,” Cheney said. In a speech delivered late last week, Obama asked members of Congress to put political games aside and work on creating new jobs. “Consistent with your goal to boost small businesses and the economy, we believe credit unions should be allowed to help create more jobs by making more member business loans, in the aggregate up to 27.5% of their assets,” Cheney said. “This move, championed by Senator Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and others, will not cost taxpayers one cent,” Cheney added. CUNA has estimated that lifting the cap would create over 108,000 new jobs and inject as much as $10.8 billion in funds into a still ailing economy.