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Washington Archive

Washington

State Leagues Add 'Boots' Presence To Virtual CU Tax Rally

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WASHINGTON (9/27/13)--Credit union advocates from 10 states are preparing to again bring their positive message to Capitol Hill early next month, and these early October visits will coincide with an Oct. 2 national virtual rally in support of the "Don't Tax My Credit Union" campaign.

League and credit union representatives from Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska and Ohio will join together in Washington between the first and third of the month.

John Murphy, president of the Maine Credit Union League, told News Now his group's hike "comes at a critical time." The Maine delegation of around 20 members will focus on highlighting the importance and value of the credit union tax exemption, and speak with members of Congress in greater depth on this issue. The group will deliver the message "that the structure and cooperative principles of the credit union tax exemption is as relevant today as it was back in the 1930s when Congress first granted it," Murphy said.

David Adams, CEO of the Michigan Credit Union League and Affiliates, told News Now his group will feature "25 credit union leaders in Washington thanking our congressional delegation for their unanimous support of the credit union industry and our tax exemption, and asking them to provide credit unions and their members with a voice and a strong defense as tax reform efforts move forward."
 
The Missouri credit union group, which will feature a mix of 13 credit union staff members and volunteers, "will be able to explain why the credit union tax status is important for consumers in the district and how removing it would hurt the people back home," Missouri Credit Union Association Senior Vice President, Advocacy Amy McLard said.

She also noted the Missouri credit union visit comes at a key time: "We also have the Missouri Bankers Association coming to Washington at the same time as our visit, so it will be very timely to have these conversations with lawmakers and be able to directly refute banker inaccuracies about the credit union tax status when meeting with our delegation," McLard added.
 
Credit union representatives back in Missouri will also do their part while their compatriots are in Washington. McLard said MCUA developed a social media calendar and distributed "Don't Tax My Credit Union" signs to every credit union branch in the state, and will have credit union members statewide "making calls, sending messages, taking photos and videos with the signs and sharing them all with lawmakers the week of Hike the Hill." Her group is also excited to be on hand as the Oct. 2 national virtual rally is held.
 
CUNA is expecting tens of thousands of supporters to be in virtual attendance for the rally, and an accompanying physical rally at Credit Union House in Washington, D.C., between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. (ET). The credit union house event will be live streamed at www.DontTaxMyCreditUnion.org.

Rally participants will be encouraged to use the various Take Action tools at www.DontTaxMyCreditUnion.org to show their support via tweets, pictures, vine videos, and e-mails to their members of Congress, all with the #DontTaxMyCU hashtag. (See Sept. 24 News Now item: Oct. 2 Is Virtual Rally On 'Don't Tax My CU'.) Advocates will also be asked to use the "Tweet Congress" tool on the site to tweet their lawmakers--and ask that lawmakers tweet back with a response showing their support of credit unions.

CUNA's Don't Tax My Credit Union initiative urges lawmakers as part of any final tax reform plan to preserve the federal tax exemption credit unions receive as not-for-profit, member-owned cooperatives. To date, the campaign has generated over 900,000 messages to members of Congress--15,000 of which have come via social media.

NCUA Files with OMB to Renew Ongoing Data Collections

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WASHINGTON (9/27/13)--The National Credit Union Administration is seeking U.S. Office of Management and Budget approval for a series of data collection projects.

The NCUA is required under the Paperwork Reduction Act to renew its ongoing information collection efforts. The information requests are published to obtain public comment on whether OMB should approve the data collection requests. CUNA is reviewing them and as it has in the past will weigh in with the OMB as appropriate.

Areas highlighted in the NCUA requests include:
  • The circumstances and conditions under which federal credit union members may inspect and copy their credit union's books, records, and minutes of meetings;
  • Credit unions that serve predominately low-income members and seek a low-income designation from NCUA so they may benefit from certain statutory relief and receive assistance from the Community Development Revolving Loan Fund;
  • Supervisory committee audit and verification requirements;
  • The NCUA's regulation on nondiscrimination requirements in real estate-related lending;
  • Certain Truth in Savings Act disclosures;
  • Federal credit union reimbursement policies;
  • Electronic funds transfer information; and
  • Credit union service organization lending and investment authorities.

FHFA Requires GSE, FHLBank Stress Tests

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WASHINGTON (9/27/13)--The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has ordered Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Federal Home Loan Banks to conduct annual stress tests to determine whether the companies have the capital necessary to absorb losses as a result of adverse economic conditions, according to the Sept. 26 edition of the Federal Register.

Only FHLBs with more than $10 billion in consolidated assets will need to meet the terms of the order. The Dodd-Frank Act requires certain financial firms with more than $10 billion in assets to conduct annual stress tests.

National Credit Union Administration Chairman Debbie Matz this month said stress testing is just as important for credit unions of comparable size, and said the agency's Office of National Examinations and Supervision is drafting a requirement for annual stress tests at credit unions with assets exceeding $10 billion.

Matz said stress testing would be part of the NCUA's "coordinated approach" to supervision of a changing industry with asset growth concentrated in large credit unions. Stress testing of federally insured credit unions with state charters would be conducted in consultation with the state regulator.

The shocks used in the stress testing would be based on scenarios issued annually by the Federal Reserve, with adjustments for differences between banks and credit unions, Matz said.

A credit union that fails a stress test would be required to revise its capital plan to demonstrate how it would meet minimum stress test capital ratios, an agency release said. A credit union that passes the test would benefit from the analysis by identifying potential improvements in its enterprise risk management system. (See Sept. 19 News Now story: Matz Announces NCUA Will Propose Stress Testing Rule.)

Some SBA 7(a) Fees To Drop On Oct. 1

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WASHINGTON (9/27/13)--The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) this week said some 7(a) loan program fees will be reduced, beginning on Oct. 1.

According to the agency, a yearly fee of 0.52% of the guaranteed portion of the outstanding balance of the loan will be assessed for 7(a) loans of $150,000 or more that are approved in the 2014 fiscal year. The SBA currently charges a service fee of 0.55% of the outstanding balance of the guaranteed portion of the loan.

Yearly fees and guaranty fees will not be charged on 7(a) loans of $150,000 or less that are approved in that year, the SBA added.

Credit unions may participate in 7(a) loans, and the SBA-guaranteed portion of a 7(a) loan is not counted against a credit union's business lending (MBL) cap. There were 347 credit unions with over 8,100 SBA loans outstanding, totaling $921 million in funds, at the end of 2012.

The Credit Union National Association earlier this year urged the SBA to facilitate credit union loans to small businesses by supporting legislation that would increase the 12.25%-of-assets member business lending (MBL) cap. Separate House (H.R. 688) and Senate (S. 968) MBL bills were introduced earlier this year. Both bills would increase the MBL cap from 12.25% of assets to 27.5%. CUNA has estimated that lifting the MBL cap would create 140,000 jobs and inject $13 billion in new funds into the economy, at no cost to taxpayers.

H.R. 688 has 115 House co-sponsors, and S. 968 is co-sponsored by 17 senators.