Monday, December 7, 2009

Finance Chairman Marcus Oshiro's Budget Presentation

At HCUL's Regulatory and Governmental Affairs Conference in November, House of Representatives Finance Committee Chair Marcus Oshiro gave a riveting presentation concering the balancing of the state budget.

Click here to view a complete version of the presentation.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Rep. Marcus Oshiro calls for the rescinding of education budget restrictions

An opinion written by House Finance Chairman Marcus Oshiro was published in the Honolulu Advertiser on Sunday, regarding the education budget.

Read the opinion here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Furloughs, furloughs, furloughs

The links below will take you to all furlough information and calendars.

State furlough calendars & information

Department of Education furlough calendar

Judiciary furlough calendar

21 day fix

From CUNA News Now 11/10/09:

WASHINGTON (11/10/09)--Even before President Barack Obama signed the CARD Act Technical Corrections Act (H.R. 3606) into law on Friday, staff from the Federal Reserve had confirmed with the Credit Union National Association that Fed staff will include this change in the CARD Act final rule that will be issued by the end of the year, or January at the latest.

These rules will address the provisions that were effective as of Aug. 20 and that will be effective as of Feb. 22, 2010.

Fed attorney Ben Olson also indicated that the Fed staff has no objection to the correction, telling CUNA Senior Assistant General Counsel Jeff Bloch that the correction "makes a lot of sense."

The CARD Act change fixes portions of the act that implied that a 21-day late notice requirement applied to all open-end credit by clearly stating that late-notice provisions apply to credit cards only.

CUNA consistently argued that lawmakers had always intended to apply the provision to credit cards only, and worked closely with lawmakers and their staffs to inform them that the CARD Act drafting error prevented credit unions from granting biweekly payment plans or sending consolidated billing statements to their members and would force them to change payment due dates for members that had previously chosen due dates based on their specific financial circumstance.

CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica hailed the quick and decisive work by the House, Senate, and President, saying that the to-be-enacted legislation "gives credit unions the opportunity to go back to doing what they do best: Serving their members with affordable and needed financial services."

Use the resource link below for comprehensive compliance information about "un-complying" with the 21-day requirement now that the fix has been enacted.

Monday, November 9, 2009

CARD Act fix & homeowner tax credit

Message from Dan Mica:

Great news to end the week: President Obama today signed into law H.R. 3606, the CARD Act Technical Corrections Act, which fixes the law so that the 21-day notice period will apply only to credit cards rather than to open-end credit in general.

The President also signed legislation extending the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit that was set to expire at the end of the month. That bill also creates a new $6,500 tax credit for current homeowners who purchase a new home between December 1, 2009 and April 30, 2010.

On the credit card fix, this is one of the most important pieces of legislation for credit unions to come out of Congress this year. As you know, credit unions had been scrambling to meet the law’s provisions on open-end loans – even though the law was never meant to cover those loans.

By signing the law, the President gives credit unions the opportunity to go back to doing what they do best: Serving their members with affordable and needed financial services. Again, our thanks to all of the leagues and the many credit unions that worked to convince House and Senate leaders to pass this fix into law. Without your efforts, credit unions would still be reeling from the unintended consequences of this law.

We know credit unions have some questions about “un-complying” with the 21-day requirement now that the fix has been enacted. For those who may have missed it, we ran an excellent article in News Now earlier this week addressing compliance questions. You can find it at the link below:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


From CUNA News Now, October 27, 2009

Congress This Week: Overdraft on the Agenda
WASHINGTON (10/27/09)--The most noteworthy Washington news for credit unions may not happen until the end of the week as the House Financial Services Committee has scheduled a hearing on H.R. 3904, "The Overdraft Protection Act of 2009," for this Friday.

The legislation, introduced by Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Barney Frank (D-Mass.), would, according to, "amend the Truth in Lending Act to establish fair and transparent practices related to the marketing and provision of overdraft coverage programs at depository institutions."

The bill is cosponsored by Reps. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), Michael Capuano (D-Mass.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Rubén Hinojosa (D-Texas), Paul Hodes (D-N.H.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Paul Kanjorski (D-Penn.), Daniel Maffei (D-N.Y.), Brad Miller (D-N.C.), Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).

Similar legislation has been introduced in the Senate and the Federal Reserve is also reportedly working to address overdraft protections. House Financial Services Chair Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has also indicated that the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, the plan for which could come to the House floor within the next month, could itself create new overdraft rules.

The Committee had not announced a witness list for the hearing at press time.

Another issue of interest to credit unions will be discussed on the Senate side on Thursday, with the Senate Judiciary Committee holding a markup session on S.1490, the "Personal Data Privacy and Security Act of 2009"; and S.139, the "Data Breach Notification Act."

The House later today will consider H.R. 3854, the Small Business Financing and Investment Act. The Credit Union National Association has touted credit unions' ability to help small businesses in a tightening market through offering business loans to their members.

The House will also discuss H.R. 2996, the Interior Appropriations Bill, and begin work on a continuing resolution to fund the government until December 15, 2009.

The Senate also began consideration of H.R. 3548, the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2009, on Monday.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Furlough Fridays won't close State Capitol

Click the link to read the official memo from the Department of Accounting and General Services regarding the closure of State office buildings on Furlough Fridays. The calendar is also attached. Both newspapers erroneously reported yesterday that the State Capitol would be closed.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Furlough Fridays to Close State Buildings

Many state buildings will close 2 Fridays a month for the remainder of the fiscal year. This includes the State Capitol. No word yet on what this will mean for the coming 2010 Legislative Session.

Read the Star Bulletin article here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Credit CARD fix passed by House

From CUNA:

The House today, on a voice vote, passed a “fix” to the Credit CARD Act that clarifies the 21-day notification rule applies only to credit cards. We strongly supported the measure and have been working intently for its passage. As you well know, credit unions are reeling from the unintended consequence of the CARD Act that applies the law to all forms of open-end credit – threatening the very ability of credit unions to continue offering affordable credit to their millions of members.

During the discussion on the floor before the House vote, Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., said the 21 day requirement on open-ended accounts was unintended and should not have been included in the CARD act. He added that the provision swept credit unions into the mix unintentionally and that credit unions were generally not responsible for abuses that led to passage of the CARD Act. He referred to (and submitted for the record) letters from CUNA and the NCUA, both of which urged him to fix the problem.

Also, he referenced the Missouri Credit Union Association and said it had successfully brought this matter to the attention of Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo. Reps. Peter Welch, D-Vt. and the sponsor of the technical corrections bill, and Chris Lee, R-N.Y., also spoke, both stating the problem and the fix.

Senate action is still urgently needed for consumers and credit unions to realize relief. We are urging senators to take similar action as soon as possible.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Hanabusa for Congress

In a well-attended press conference yesterday morning, Senate President Colleen Hanabusa announced that she would be running for Congressional District 1, the seat that will be vacated by Congressman Neil Abercrombie next year. Congressman Abercrombie intends to run for Governor. Other candidates for Congressional District 1 that have already announced their intention to run are Ed Case and Councilman Charles Djou.

Read the Honolulu Advertiser article here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Teacher Fuloughs Put to Vote

HSTA members will vote today on whether to ratify a contract that includes 17 furlough days a year. Many teachers are concerned about the effect the reduced learning time will have on isle students. Voting begins at 3pm today, and will end at 5:30.

Read the Honolulu Advertiser article here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dan Mica Leaving

From CUNA News Now:

WASHINGTON (8/27/2009)--Dan Mica is stepping down as president and CEO of the Credit Union National Association effective January 2011. Mica made the announcement to the CUNA Board and executive management team today (Thursday, Aug. 27).

Additionally, Mica said, CUNA Chief Operating Officer and Chief of Staff Richard McBride is also stepping down in January 2011. McBride and Mica have been close associates for many years.
"My mentor, the late Rep. Paul G. Rogers, often said an individual should spend no more than 10 years in any particular role or position," Mica said. "I followed that advice as a congressional staff member, as a member of Congress and in my position prior to CUNA. I love what I do here at CUNA, and I deeply care about the credit union movement – so I have stayed a bit longer than Paul's advice would allow.

"Now, completely of my own choosing and preference, I am making the change. I fully intend to move on to something else after I depart CUNA. There is much room in my life for additional accomplishments, and I am looking at all opportunities," Mica said.

Mica commended and thanked the CUNA Boards he served with over the past 13 years as CEO, as well as each of the chair persons he served. He said that, in each case, the relationship between himself and his chair person was "incredible, special." Mica particularly commended the staff and management team of CUNA, calling them persistent, ardent and tenacious in pursuing whatever he has requested of them. "I hope they remain friends of mine forever," he said.
CUNA Chairman Kris Mecham said that "the board understands that this has been a tough decision for Dan. During his tenure at CUNA – longer than any other CEO – Dan has brought CUNA and the credit union movement to the highest levels of respect in Washington and nationwide. We thank him for his service."

Mecham noted that a committee will be formed to find Mica's replacement, and that Mica will participate throughout that search. "From the day I joined CUNA, I put my whole heart and soul into the credit union movement," Mica said. "I am a true believer of credit unions and sincerely fond of the people who nurture and lead them. I have seen how they provide the best deal to consumers – and I am convinced that, in the future, credit unions will become of even greater importance to more and more consumers."

A former five-term member of Congress, Mica represented his home state of Florida from 1979 to 1989 in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat. He assumed his duties at CUNA in July 1996. During his time at CUNA, he is credited with raising the visibility and presence of credit unions in Washington, building a powerful grassroots lobbying structure for credit unions before the Congress, and developing new and innovative products to help credit unions serve their members.

Monday, August 24, 2009


The United States Senate Appropriations Committee, led by Senator Dan Inouye, held a local hearing today, for the purpose of reviewing the State of Hawaii's use of stimulus money. Among the "witnesses" were Governor Linda Lingle, Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, Superintendent Patricia Hamamoto, and Department of Transportation Director Brennon Morioka. Senator Dan Akaka also appeared at the hearing.

All of the witnesses agreed that the state is still stuck in economic crisis, however, the stimulus money has given Hawaii a necessary boost.

Read Governor Lingle's testimony here.
Read the Honolulu Advertiser article here.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

CARD Act Deadline

From CUNA News Now, August 13, 2009

WASHINGTON --Working closely with the Connecticut Credit Union League, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) yesterday urged the Federal Reserve Board to provide relief to credit unions regarding the 21-day rule under the Credit Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act as it applies to open-end plans other than credit cards.
In a letter to Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke, Sen. Dodd urged the Fed to allow credit unions "more time to come into compliance" for such open-end plans.
Under the Act, creditors are required to provide periodic statements to all open-end plan borrowers 21-days before their payment due dates, effective Aug. 20. Credit unions have indicated they can comply with these provisions for credit cards, but many credit unions have indicated that meeting the requirements for all other open-end plans is horrendous, and may not be possible for some credit unions by the rapidly approaching Aug. 20 effective date.
Sen. Dodd urged the Fed to extend the current compliance deadline for credit union open-end plans other than credit cards, stating that the existing compliance date has caused "legitimate implementation difficulties" for a credit union product that "was not the primary focus" of the CARD Act.
Dodd said that while the main goal of the 21-day provision of the CARD Act is to "ensure" that financial firms provide consumers the necessary window to respond to their billing statements, the rule is causing particular problems for credit unions that offer multi-featured credit plans with sub-accounts.
The effort was supported by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).
CUNA said it will continue to pursue relief for credit unions on the issue by urging policymakers to limit the scope of the 21-day rule to credit cards. Barring that, it is seeking more time for compliance with the 21-day provision for open-end plans other than credit cards.
Also, CUNA has met and discussed this issue repeatedly with the Fed. Earlier this week, the Consumer Federation of America, working with CUNA, expressed its concerns over this portion of the CARD Act in letters to the Fed and to Dodd.
Late last month CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica encouraged credit unions to communicate directly with the Fed regarding this matter. CUNA issued a memo to help member credit unions deal with compliance issues created by the 21-day rule.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Councilwoman Kobayashi

Ann Kobayashi claimed victory in the special election held on Friday for Honolulu City Council District V. In what turned out to be a short, but highly expensive election, Kobayashi received 37.5% of the vote to win. Ann Kobayashi previously held the same seat before vacating it to run against Mayor Mufi Hannemann in 2008.

Former State Senator Matt Matsunaga finished second, having lost by about 1,300 votes.

Congratulations to the former-and-newly-elected Councilwoman Kobayashi.

View the complete results here.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Election Day

The special election for Honolulu City Council District V will end tomorrow. Ballots must be received by the City Clerk no later than 6:00 p.m. on Friday, August 7th. Election results will be announced Friday night.

To view the Candidates In Focus statements, click here.

To view the HPR debate, click here.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Promoting Lending to America's Small Business Act (HR 3380)

From CUNA News Now 8/3/09:

WASHINGTON (7/31/09)—Proposed legislation that would lift the current member business lending (MBL) cap to 25% would allow credit unions to "help address a real need in a difficult economic time" and "provide economic stimulus without increasing the size of government or costing taxpayers a dime," the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) said on Thursday.
H.R. 3380, the "Promoting Lending for America's Small Business Act," which was introduced on Thursday by co-sponsors Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) and Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), would double the current statutory MBL cap of 12.25%, and would exclude from the new 25% statutory cap loans of less than $250,000, business loans in underserved areas, and loans to non-profit religious institutions.

The "bipartisan legislation," if passed, "would enable credit unions to make more small business loans and create jobs at a time when our country needs a financial boost," Kanjorski said in a release announcing the bill. Kanjorski said that the bill will use credit unions "as a resource to boost lending to small businesses" and to fill the void created by "commercial banks and other entities" that "have unfortunately pulled back their lending activities" as the economic crisis wears on.

CUNA has consistently argued in support of raising the MBL cap, saying that lifting the cap would allow credit unions to aid the ongoing economic recovery by increasing the loan opportunities available to small businesses.

National Credit Union Administration Chairman Michael Fryzel in a Thursday release said that the board "looks forward to working with Congress as the legislative process progresses to produce a bill that enhances safe, well-supervised and beneficial member business lending,"
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke recently said that legislation that would lift the MBL cap would be "worth looking at," and a CUNA representative in recent Senate testimony told legislators that lifting the MBL cap above 20% of assets would "safely and soundly" result in $10 billion in new small business loans within one year.

Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) indicated that there is a "growing sentiment" among members of Congress that the MBL cap should be lifted, and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) earlier this year announced plans to develop legislation to address the MBL cap.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Matz vote postponed

From CUNA News Now, 7/29/09:

WASHINGTON (7/29/09)--The confirmation of presumptive National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) agency head Deborah Matz on Tuesday was temporarily postponed after the Senate Banking Committee could not assemble the number of members needed to form a quorum.

The committee had scheduled a discussion of Matz's nomination to the NCUA board for Tuesday morning's executive session, but the committee chairman, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), put off the discussion after his committee did not have the number of senators needed to begin a vote. Sources close to the issue have told News Now that the delay is related to scheduling conflicts and that her expected confirmation is still on track.

If confirmed, Matz will serve on the NCUA board for a second time. Matz gave an indication of how the board would function under her leadership in a nomination hearing held last week, telling legislators that she would maintain the "critical arms-length relationship" between a regulator and the regulated while ensuring that credit unions remained conscious of their commitment to consumer protection, member outreach, and financial education.

It is not known when the committee will next discuss the nomination. However, while members of the House will likely leave for summer recess at the end of this week, the Senate is scheduled to remain in Washington through next week. Senate Banking Committee members could also vote on the Matz nomination if the chairman calls for a quorum and vote while the members are gathered in the Senate chambers for other official business.

Matz's nomination, if approved by the committee, would move on to the full Senate for confirmation.

No more claiming losses

Under House Bill 1495, which was signed into law by Governor Lingle, gamblers will no longer be able to offset their winnings with their losses for Hawai'i state income tax purposes. Previously, gamblers would be taxed only on their net winnings, but now they will be taxed on gross winnings.

Read the Honolulu Advertiser article here.

Friday, July 17, 2009

34 out of 53

The Legislature overrode 34 of Governor Lingle's 53 total vetoes on Wednesday. Among the veto overrides were 2 bills that HCUL testified in support of, HB31, Relating to Employment Practices, and SB1218, Relating to Mortgage Loan Originators.

A complete list of the vetoes that were overridden can be found here. These bills now become law.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Unions Make Offer, State Budget Gap Shrinks

At a meeting between public-employee unions, Governor Lingle, and the 4 County Mayors, an offer for public-sector employees to take a 5% pay cut was made. This offer comes on the heels of the ruling made by Judge Karl Sakamoto, deeming the furloughs ordered by Governor Lingle as unlawful.

The state deficit also shrank yesterday, as new numbers were released by Governor Lingle. Once estimated at approximately $900 million, the deficit is now estimated to be $744 million over the next two years.

Read the Honolulu Advertiser article on the unions' offer here.
Read the Star Bulletin article on the state deficit here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Longer compliance time needed on CARD Act provision

From CUNA News Now, July 8, 2009:

WASHINGTON (7/8/09)—The Federal Reserve Board must give credit unions more time to comply with a provision of its expected rules to implement new credit card statutes if that provision is going to apply beyond credit cards, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) urged the federal regulator Tuesday.

CUNA has been working with the Fed to convey credit union concerns regarding a specific requirement in Section 106 of the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (CARD Act). That section prohibits creditors from claiming a payments is late unless that creditor adopts reasonable procedures to ensure that p e riodic statements are delivered to consumers no later than 21 days before the payment due date.

"As we explained in...earlier discussions with your staff, Section 106 of the CARD Act is very problematic both because it is one of the very few provisions that apply to all open-end credit, not just credit cards, and because of the upcoming Aug. 20 effective date," wrote CUNA.
Addressing the letter to Sandra Braunstein, director of the Fed's Division of Consumer and Community Affairs, CUNA wrote that if Section 106 is truly to cover all open-ended credit, the scope would be so broad that credit unions cannot realistically comply with the fast-approaching compliance date.

The letter reiterated CUNA's strong and long-standing support for the intent of the CARD Act, which is to eliminate predatory credit card practices. Credit unions back the changes, CUNA said, even though they will require significant adjustments over the next six weeks to ensure that credit card periodic statements are mailed at least 21 days in advance before a late charge may be assessed.

"Credit unions are diligently working with their data processors to implement these changes prior to the August 20, 2009 effective date," CUNA assured.

However, if the section applies also to general lines of credit, lines of credit associated with share draft and checking accounts, signature loans, and home equity lines of credit and--of particular concern to credit unions--to multi-featured, open-end lending programs, a longer compliance timeframe is imperative, CUNA urged.

CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica sent similar letters to Fed Governors Elizabeth Duke and Daniel Tarullo, who are the Fed board members responsible for consumer issues, and asked them to take a leadership role in urging a regulatory correction of the "urgent credit union issues."
Beyond the regulatory front, CUNA is also working with key federal lawmakers and their staffs to clarify whether it was the intent of Congress to apply section 106 beyond credit cards.
The section was added by the Senate shortly before its passage of the extensive credit card bill. Therefore the scope of the provision beyond credit cards was not fully appreciated until after it was signed by the President on May 22, and CUNA and other interested parties had no opportunity to raise questions or express concerns prior to enactment.

"We note that others have also not appreciated the broad scope of this provision. For example, on June 25th, the Office of Thrift Supervision published a summary of the CARD Act, which stated that Section 106 only applies to credit cards. This has undoubtedly created further confusion within the financial institutions industry," the CUNA letter pointed out.

Members of CUNA's Lending Council met with CUNA staff on Monday to provide additional information on the procedural burdens and costs that credit unions face in trying to devise ways to comply with the 21-day requirement applicable to their open-end lending programs.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Potential veto list released

Governor Lingle yesterday released her list of potential vetoes to the public. Among the vetoes are 2 bills HCUL supported in their final forms: HB 31, and SB 1218.

HB 31, Relating to Employment Practices, makes it unlawful to use a credit history report in the hiring or firing of an employee, except in the case of financial institutions.

SB 1218, Relating to Mortgage Loan Originators, would allow the commissioner of financial institutions to regulate, license, examine, and enforce laws regulating mortgage loan originators.

View the entire list of potential vetoes complete with links here.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Governor Lingle Issues Executive Order

Read Governor Lingle's executive order on state furloughs here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Race for Council District V begins

With the filing deadline for Council District V looming (deadline to file to run is tomorrow, June 25th), the race is heating up. Go here to see the latest list of candidates.

The Honolulu Advertiser also reported today that former State Senator Matt Matsunaga is considering a run. Read the full article here.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Furlough plan laid out

Go here to view the Governor's furlough plan in its entirety. The attachments at the bottom outline the agencies' specific schedules and closure plans, by departments.

The closure of the Bureau of Conveyances (as part of the Department of Land and Natural Resources) on certain Fridays (Attachment B FY10) may affect credit unions.

Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009

S. 896, The Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009, was signed into law on June 2, 2009. Among the provisions of the bill is the increase of the NCUA's borrowing authority from Treasury from $100 million to $6 billion. NCUA will also have the ability to borrow as much as $30 billion through December of 2010. The bill also establishes a Temporary Corporate Stabilization Fund.

HCUL's thank you letter to Congresswoman Hirono.
HCUL's thank you letter to Congressman Abercrombie.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

City Council District 5 Special Election

A special election to fill the vacancy left by the passing of Councilman Duke Bainum will be held on August 7, 2009. The election will be conducted entirely as a “Vote-By-Mail” election. All registered voters as of the voter registration deadline will automatically be mailed a packet containing the Vote-By-Mail ballot and return envelopes. No polling places will be open on August 7, 2009. Ballots will be mailed approximately 20 days prior to the election. Voted ballots must be received by the City Clerk no later than 6:00 p.m., August 7, 2009 in the return envelopes provided. Submission of an “Absentee ballot” application form to receive a ballot packet is not required unless the registered voter transfers into the district after the voter registration deadline or if the voter is unable to receive mail at the address listed in the general county registry.

The last day for candidates to file nomination papers will be June 25, 2009. The last day to register to vote in this special election will be July 8, 2009.

Read the informational brochure here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Aloha, Councilman Duke Bainum

Councilman Duke Bainum has passed away. He represented the 5th City Council District, which includes a portion of Kapahulu and Kaimuki; Palolo Valley, St. Louis Heights, Manoa, Moiliili, Mc Cully, Kakaako, and a portion of Ala Moana and Makiki.

A Special Election will be held on August 5th to fill the vacancy.

We at HCUL send our condolences to Councilman Bainum's family and staff.

Read the Honolulu Advertiser coverage here.
Read the Honolulu Star Bulletin article here.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

2009 End of Session Report

Click here to view the 2009 End of Session Report.

Click here to view the full list of bills of interest from the 2009 session.

Please contact League Legislative Officer Stefanie Sakamoto at 203-6409, or by email at with any questions regarding legislative matters.

House committee approves data breach bill

From CUNA News Now, June 4, 2009:

WASHINGTON (6/4/09)--H.R. 2221, the Data Accountability and Trust Act, passed the House subcommittee on commerce, trade, and consumer protection by a voice vote during a Wednesday markup session.
The bill, which was introduced by House Subcommittee Chair Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), would require businesses to notify affected customers when outside parties gain access to sensitive information due to a security breach.
Although it supports the goal of granting greater information to consumers whose personal information has been compromised by security breaches, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) on Wednesday asked legislators to alter some portions of the bill.
In a letter to ranking subcommittee members, CUNA said that while most businesses lack the contact information needed to alert their customers, financial institutions normally have the means to directly communicate with their account holders.
While any notification of data breach victims should be done by the financial institutions, the cost of this notification should be covered by the entity that compromised the data. Financial institutions should also be allowed to disclose the source of the information leak to their cardholders to avoid any harm that could be done to their reputation, CUNA added.
The bill, as currently drafted, excludes federally insured credit unions from Federal Trade Commission (FTC) oversight of their security risk mitigation procedures. However, businesses following standard security precautions of equal or greater quality to those set out by the bill would be deemed compliant by the FTC.
The House subcommittee, during the same markup session, voted 16 to 9 to approve H.R. 2309, the Consumer Credit and Debt Protection Act. This bill would direct the FTC to examine its existing rules and possibly to create new rules governing debt settlements and auto sales. The bill would also enhance the FTC's rulemaking authority as it relates to consumer credit and debt.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee has not announced when it may consider these bill.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Aloha, Lt. Governor Gill

Former Lt. Governor Tom Gill passed away today at the age of 87. He was Lt. Governor under the late Governor John Burns, from 1966 - 1970.

Read the Honolulu Advertiser article here.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Lt. Governor

The following people have announced their candidacy for the office of Lt. Governor for the 2010 elections:

Councilman Donovan Dela Cruz
Senator Gary Hooser
Councilman Rod Tam

Monday, June 1, 2009

Governor Proposes Furloughs

Governor Linda Lingle wants state employees to take a work furlough of 3 days per month to make up for the projected loss in revenue. The furlough would be the equivalent of a 13.8% pay cut, and would apply to all state employees, except for the Department of Education, University of Hawaii, the Judiciary, the Legislature, and the Hawaii Health Systems coportation. She is asking those departments to take similar furloughs or cut their spending budgets.

Read the Honolulu Advertiser story here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Letters in Support of Bills Sent to Governor

HCUL has sent two letters in support of two important bills awaiting the approval or veto of the Governor.

HB31, Relating to Employment Practices, makes it illegal for employers to use a prospective employee's credit report for purposes of evaluation. Financial institutions that are federally insured are exempt from this law.

SB1218, Relating to Mortgage Loan Originators brings Hawaii into compliance with the federal Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008. This act required states to regulate the mortgage industry by July 1, 2010, or become federally regulated.

Letter of Support for HB31
Letter of Support for SB1218

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Post-Session Numbers

The Legislative Reference Bureau has released some raw numbers to recap the end of the 2009 session:

*House bills: 1,843 bills introduced; 115 passed.

*Senate bills: 1,680 bills introduced; 136 passed.

*Total: 3,523 bills introduced; 251 passed.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Credit Card Reform Bill Passes Congress

The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act passed the Senate yesterday, and now goes to President Obama for approval. Obama has indicated that he plans to sign the bill into law this Friday.

The intent of this legislation is to make credit card rules more transparent and easier to understand for card holders. Introduced to aid Americans swimming in credit card debt, and those that have fallen prey to unfair and undisclosed fees and interest payments, HR627 would help people better manage their credit.

Highlights of the measure:
  • Limited interest rate hikes
  • Extended monthy payment deadlines
  • Limits on over-limit fees
  • Lower sub-prime fees

Those in the credit card and banking industry opposed the bill, saying that it would result in credit cards becoming unattainable for lower-income individuals, and larger fees for current users.

Read the full article on by clicking here.

Friday, May 8, 2009

2009 Legislative Session Adjourns

After a relatively short veto override session today, the 2009 legislative session adjourned, Sine Die. This session was marred by a struggling economy and party politics, yet lawmakers were able to pass a balanced budget that largely preserved jobs and wages for public sector employees.

The following bills that were vetoed by Governor Lingle in her public ceremony yesterday were overridden by a large majority in both the House and Senate today:

HB 1747 HD1 SD1 CD1 (Income Tax increase): Raises the state income tax from the existing 8.25 percent to up to 11 percent on single taxpayers who make $150,000 or more a year, heads of households who earn $225,000 or more a year, and couples who make $300,000 or more a year. The tax increase would apply to roughly the top 2.6 percent of state taxpayers. Starting in fiscal year 2012, the bill would also increase the standard deduction and personal exemption, which would provide a tax break for many taxpayers.
Revenue estimate over the two-year budget: $96.6 million.
Revenue estimate over the six-year financial plan: $245.8 million.

SB 1111 HD1 SD1 CD1 (Hotel room tax): Raises the transient accommodations tax by 1 percentage point in July — from 7.25 percent to 8.25 percent — and another 1 percentage point in July 2010 — from 8.25 percent to 9.25 percent. The tax increase would apply to operators of hotel rooms, apartments, condominiums, beach houses and other places rented to visitors or local guests. The increase would likely be passed on to consumers. It is estimated that it would roughly amount to an increase of $9 for a 5-day stay.
Revenue estimate over the two-year budget: $88.9 million.
Revenue estimate over the six-year financial plan: $367.2 million.

HB 1741 HD1 SD1 CD1 (Conveyance tax): Raises the conveyance tax on the sale of properties of $2 million or more and on second-home purchases. Reduces for three years the distribution of conveyance tax revenues into the rental housing trust fund and the natural area reserve fund.
Revenue estimate over the two-year budget: $8 million.
Revenue estimate over the six-year financial plan: $24 million.

HB 895 HD2 SD2 CD1 (Non-cigarette tobacco tax): Raises the state's tax on the wholesale price of tobacco products, such as chewing tobacco or pipe tobacco, from 40 percent to 70 percent starting at the end of September. The state's tax on the wholesale price of cigars would increase from 40 percent to 50 percent, and smaller cigars that resemble cigarettes would be taxed like cigarettes.
Revenue estimate over the two-year budget: $3.2 million.
Revenue estimate over the six-year financial plan: $18.6 million.

Governor Vetoes Tax Bills

At a public ceremony in the Capitol rotunda yesterday, Governor Lingle vetoed several taxation bills:

SB1111 SD1 HD1 CD1 – Increases the transient accommodation tax by 28 percent over the next two years, adding to the cost visitors and residents pay when staying at hotels, time-shares, and bed & breakfast lodgings. The tax increase would raise the cost of visiting Hawai‘i and discourage both leisure and business travelers from coming to the islands and further destabilize Hawai‘i’s already weakened visitor industry.

HB1741 HD1 SD1 CD1 – Increases by up to 257 percent the conveyance tax home buyers, businesses, real estate developers, charities, non-profit organizations and other purchasers of all residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural real estate must pay for transactions over $2 million. It would also adversely impact affordable housing projects and non-profit organizations, including churches, schools, and youth organizations.

HB1747 HD1 SD1 CD1 – Increases the personal income tax rate on almost 37,000 Hawai‘i income tax filers, sole proprietors and small businesses (S-corporations and partnerships) that file their business income as personal income. There are over 27,000 S-corporations, partnerships and sole proprietorship in Hawai‘i, which includes approximately 6,000 sole proprietors.

Visit the Governor's website at to view the veto messages and the veto ceremony.

At today's final legislative session, the House and Senate plan to override Governor Lingle's vetoes. Read the Honolulu Advertiser article here.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Bills Update

Please go here to view the updated bill tracking spreadsheet, with post-conference information. A full, comprehensive final legislative report will be available after adjournment of the legislature, which is scheduled for May 8, 2009.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Swine Flu Hotline

The State has opened a Swine Flu informational hotline:

(866) 767-5044, Ext. 3.
Hours: Mon-Fri 7 a.m.-7 p.m., weekends 9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Read the Honolulu Advertiser article here.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Taxation bill on the move

A bill that proposes an evaluation mechanism for certain tax credits and tax exemptions is moving through the legislature. HB 611 HD1 SD1 started out as an evaluation mechanism, coupled with an automatic repeal of certain tax credits and exemptions. It included the Hawaii credit unions general excise tax exemptions for the puchase of tangible personal property.

In its revised form, HB 611 HD1 SD1, and its Senate counterpart, SD 1247 SD2, both simply require an evaluation be conducted of tax credits and tax exemptions. Our position on the bills states that we are concerned about the language, since it requires a "complete and accurate" report be completed and submitted. However, there is no clarification regarding the wording, "complete and accurate". SB1247 was deferred by the Finance committee, but HB611 is still alive and well, after moving out of the Senate Ways and Means Committee yesterday. It now moves to the Senate floor.

To view all information regarding these bills, click on the links below:
HB 611 HD1 SD1
SB 1247 SD1

To read HCUL's testimony, click here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Updated Bill Tracking Now Online

Go here to check on the progress of important bills moving through the legislative process. Second Crossover is rapidly approaching (April 14).

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mica Testifying at Senate Banking Committee Hearing

From CUNA News Now 3/24/09:

WASHINGTON (3/24/09)—Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Dan Mica is scheduled to testify today before the Senate Banking Committee during its second hearing this year on modernizing financial institution supervision.

Mica will state the credit union case that a separate federal regulator is an imperative for credit unions because their structure and, in some ways, operations are so distinct from banks and thrifts.

Mica will be seated on a panel of witnesses comprised of credit union, bank, and consumer group representatives.

This hearing follows by less than a week the committee's opening session on the issues. Last week, financial institution regulators, including National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Chairman Michael Fryzel, testified.

Fryzel told the banking panel that credit unions deserve and require a separate regulator because they are fundamentally different in structure and operation than other types of financial institutions.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Kauai Financial Education Resolutions Introduced

Through collaboration with Kauai credit union CEOs, a House Concurrent Resolution, House Resolution, Senate Concurrent Resolution, and Senate Resolution have been introduced. The resos were introduced by Kauai Representatives James Tokioka and Roland Sagum, and Senator Gary Hooser.

The resolutions request that the Superintendent of Education convene a task force to examine the possibility of working with credit unions and other agencies to offer financial education opportunities to public school students.

The view the resolutions, click on the links:

HCR 191
HR 156
SCR 177
SR 123

Monday, March 16, 2009

Post-Crossover Bill Status

The first half of the legislative session is now over, and House and Senate bills have now crossed over to their opposite chambers.

The struggling economy has had measurable effects on the Legislative session. Many of the bills that were introduced were drafted with the economy in mind, such as numerous mortgage and foreclosure-related bills. Legislators now face a massive challenge in balancing the state budget with the Council on Revenues' bleak projections in mind. With the continued economic downturn iminent, the remainder of the session will most likely consist of more legislation designed to help those in financial difficulty.

HCUL's post-crossover bill tracking report is now online, complete with links to the Hawaii State Legislature website. If you have any questions about any legislative matter, please contact me.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cramdown & MBL legislation - Update

From CUNA News Now, March 10, 2009

WASHINGTON (3/10/09)—Unable to complete consideration of the FY 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act last week, the U.S. Congress passed a continuing resolution through March 11 to keep the government going.

The Senate resumed consideration of the spending bill Monday and is expected to cast its final vote on it Wednesday. Important to credit unions, the legislation includes language that removes a cap on the Central Liquidity Facility lending authority through Sept. 30.

The appropriations bill also includes language to expand the mortgage lending rule-making authority of the Federal Trade Commission, a move that is opposed by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). A CUNA-supported amendment to strip this provision from the spending bill was withdrawn last week, but only after key lawmakers agreed to address this issue on the next available piece of legislation.

CUNA also continued to work on the Senate side on compromise language to H.R. 1106, the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, approved 234-191 in the House. This legislation includes language permitting bankruptcy courts to modify the terms of loans secured by a debtor's principal residence, and CUNA strongly advocates a narrowing of the courts' "cramdown" authority.

H.R. 1106, however, also includes language that would make permanent the $250,000 share and deposit insurance limit. It also would extend the amount of time the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) has to replenish its share insurance fund when it drops before 1%, and would increase the NCUA borrowing authority. Those provisions have CUNA's strong support.

Also of note, Reps. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) and Ed Royce (R-Calif.) continue to design a House bill comparable to Senate legislation being drafted by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), to lift the cap on credit union member business lending.

Last week Schumer announced his intention to introduce legislation raising the MBL cap as a way to provide additional credit to America's small businesses.

Schumer said that credit unions have a long track record of scrutinizing borrowers, and have low delinquencies as a result. "Because deposits have been on the rise as people move their savings from the stock market to savings accounts, (credit unions) have cash on hand to loan to small businesses," he noted.

The current MBL cap is set at 12.25% of assets. CUNA estimates that credit unions could lend $10 billion to small businesses in the first year after the cap is lifted.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Increased deposit insurance provision included in HR1106

Included in the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009 (HR 1106), which passed the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday was the provision that makes the increase in deposit share insurance permanent.

Here is the section of the bill:

(a) Permanent Increase in Deposit Insurance-
(1) AMENDMENTS TO FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE ACT- Effective upon the date of the enactment of this Act, section 11(a) of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (12 U.S.C. 1821(a)) is amended--
(A) in paragraph (1)(E), by striking `$100,000' and inserting `$250,000';
(B) in paragraph (1)(F)(i), by striking `2010' and inserting `2015';
(C) in subclause (I) of paragraph (1)(F)(i), by striking `$100,000' and inserting `$250,000';
(D) in subclause (II) of paragraph (1)(F)(i), by striking `the calendar year preceding the date this subparagraph takes effect under the Federal Deposit Insurance Reform Act of 2005' and inserting `calendar year 2008'; and
(E) in paragraph (3)(A), by striking `, except that $250,000 shall be substituted for $100,000 wherever such term appears in such paragraph'.
(2) AMENDMENT TO FEDERAL CREDIT UNION ACT- Section 207(k) of the Federal Credit Union Act (12 U.S.C. 1787(k)) is amended--
(A) in paragraph (3)--
(i) by striking the opening quotation mark before `$250,000';
(ii) by striking `, except that $250,000 shall be substituted for $100,000 wherever such term appears in such section'; and
(iii) by striking the closing quotation mark after the closing parenthesis; and
(B) in paragraph (5), by striking `$100,000' and inserting `$250,000'.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Mortgage Cramdown Bill Passes House

The House today approved mortgage "cramdown" legislation (HR 1106, the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009) that would allow homeowners facing bankruptcy to seek mortgage relief. The final vote was 234-191. Congressman Neil Abercrombie and Congresswoman Mazie Hirono both voted yes.

Read the Wall Street Journal article here.
View the bill here.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ending the GAC With a Smile

All too soon, it was the last day of the GAC...

Al Roker, of Today Show fame closed the GAC with a humorous but "real" talk, focusing on life with children, the partnership of marriage, and how to make the most out of life.

Me and Alan Arai (Valley Isle Community FCU) in the National Mall, where approximately 1.6 million people stood for President Obama's inauguration.

Alan & Carol Arai, me, and Mel Chiba (Kauai Community FCU) in front of our hotel.

Hope to see everyone again next year! Stay tuned in the next few days for a complete wrap-up of the GAC.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Day in Pictures

I apologize for the pictures-only post today. It's been a long, long day, and it's way past my bedtime. So here's some images for now!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

GAC Day 2...State Pride, Pundits, & Breakout Sessions

Gordon Sam (Pearl Harbor FCU), and League President Dennis Tanimoto carry the Hawai'i Flag proudly in today's State Flag Ceremony.

Following the opening ceremony, we were treated to a political "showdown" by CNN's Paul Begala on the left, and MSNBC's Tucker Carlson on the right. They discussed everything from the great opportunity offerred by our "Land of Opportunity", to President Obama's first thirty days in office. It was a refreshing and down-to-earth take on both sides of the aisle.

Today's breakout sessions featured everything from economic forecasts to dealing with the local press. Possible upcoming interchange regulation legislation was discussed in the interchange session, which would likely be reintroduced by Senator Durbin in the near future. A rundown of the 111th Congress introduced attendees to effective ways to communicate our message to new members. NCUA held a large breakout session, where they answered tough questions.

It was another breezy day in DC, with temperatures hovering near 35. Tomorrow, look for a recap of our visits to Capitol Hill!

Monday, February 23, 2009

The View From the GAC

Bob and Lee Woodruff share their amazing story during today's opening ceremonies.

Gordon Sam (Pearl Harbor FCU) and Mike Leach (HCUL) at State Flag ceremony rehearsal.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

FEC/Ethics Training

Attended CUNA's FEC/Ethics Training session today. Lots of important information regarding federal lobbying/ethics laws, and FEC guidelines relating to CULAC. Should you need information regarding this subject, please contact me.

GAC officially begins tomorrow, bright & early!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Blogging from the GAC!

Just arrived in Washington, D.C. for the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference. Not much to report yet, except for the extremely frigid weather.

Stay tuned for more from the GAC!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Highlights of Mayor's State of the City Address

1. No expected furloughs or layoffs.
2. People in appointed positions and the Mayor himself will work without pay 1 day a month.
3. Mayor will convene a citizens panel to explore a possible merger of the Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services.
4. Rail will happen, and will bring with it approximately $1 billion in jobs and contracts.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Michigan Governor signs financial education bill into law

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm has signed SB 834 into law, that would allow a financial education course to satisfy part of the state's high school math requirements. This new law demonstrates Michigan's recognition of the increasing importance of financial education for students.

To view the new law, click here.

Mortgage bankruptcy bills reintroduced

from CUNA News Now, 1/8/09

WASHINGTON (1/8/09)—Lawmakers in both houses of the U.S. Congress reintroduced legislation this week that would let judges modify mortgage terms in bankruptcy proceedings.
After falling short in completing the legislative process in 2008, the bill was reintroduced in the Senate by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and in the House by Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.) Tuesday.
Ryan Donovan, vice president of legislative affairs for the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), said he believes that the lawmakers will try to get the bill attached to a much-anticipated, second economic stimulus package.

Durbin tried a similar strategy at the end of 2008 when he attempted to get mortgage "cramdown" provisions—that would have granted bankruptcy judges the power to rewrite the terms of loans—included in The Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Honolulu City Council Committee Lineup

Chair: Nestor Garcia
Vice Chair: Gary Okino
Duke Bainum
Charles Djou
Rod Tam

Chair: Charles Djou
Vice Chair: Barbara Marshall
Todd K. Apo
Duke Bainum
Romy Cachola
Donovan Dela Cruz
Nestor Garcia
Gary Okino
Rod Tam

Chair: Duke Bainum
Vice Chair: Nestor Garcia
Charles Djou
Donovan Dela Cruz
Barbara Marshall

Chair: Donovan Dela Cruz
Vice Chair: Romy Cachola
Duke Bainum
Charles Djou
Rod Tam

Chair: Gary Okino
Vice Chair: Donovan Dela Cruz
Nestor Garcia
Barbara Marshall
Rod Tam

Chair: Rod Tam
Vice Chair: Duke Bainum
Romy Cachola
Barbara Marshall
Gary Okino

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

10 Reasons Why Credit Unions Rule

From msnmoney, and Blueprint for Financial Prosperity.

1. Better interest rates on loans.
2. Personal loans are more likely.
3. Better interest rates on deposits.
4. Lower fees.
5. Fewer customers, better relationships.
6. Fewer customers, so you're more important.
7. No call centers.
8. You can be involved at a credit union.
9. NCUA insurance.
10. Less profit-driven.

Read the entire article here.

Free Informed Citizen Workshop

LRB's Public Access Room will be conducting another FREE Informed Citizen Workshop. This time it will be in Makiki. Come join others to learn about the legislative process and how to write effective testimony, and talk to your district lawmakers.

Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Makiki Library Mezzanine
1527 Keeaumoku Street, Honolulu

The workshop will be hosted by Friends of the Makiki Community Learning Center, Hui o Makiki, Rep. Della Au Belatti, Rep. Karl Rhoads, and Senator Carol Fukunaga.