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.