WASHINGTON -- If the Federal Trade Commission decides to issue rules banning the use of Social Security numbers to identify consumers in order to protect the valuable digits, CUNA would like to see a carve out for financial institutions.
Government requirements, including PATRIOT Act and Bank Secrecy Act compliance, require the use of SSNs to identify consumers and weed out money laundering and terrorist financing. SSNs are also used on credit checks for loans, CUNA explained. Additionally, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act put personal information safeguards in place.
"For these reasons, we do not support a prohibition on the use of SSNs to identify consumers," CUNA Senior Assistant General Counsel Jeffrey Bloch wrote. "If, however, the FTC, based on its thorough analysis of empirical evidence, concludes that additional regulatory action is needed to safeguard the use of SSNs, we urge that the FTC and other government agencies provide an exemption for financial institutions as the rules under the GLB Act already address protection of SSNs in financial transactions."
While recognizing the flourishing use of SSNs in identity theft, CUNA said prohibiting their use "is simply not feasible at this time." Bloch added, "SSNs serve a vital function with regard to identification due to their status as the only unique and nationwide individual identifier. There appears to be few alternatives at this time." One is only using part of the SSN, but even that should be carefully considered.
Banning use of SSNs would only create the need for another identifier--requiring more training--that would fall prey to the same problems as SSNs, he pointed out. Bloch said CUNA is willing to explore other alternatives with the FTC, like for example creating an identity verification program.
NAFCU: Treasury Reinforces Favorable View of Credit Unions
WASHINGTON -- NAFCU senior staff caught up with Treasury Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy Eric Solomon on Sept. 6 who reiterated that the department is not looking to repeal the credit union tax-exemption.
Solomon and other senior staff at Treasury discussed credit unions and their issues with NAFCU President/CEO Fred Becker, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Dan Berger and Associate Director of Regulatory Affairs Tessema Tefferi. One particular topic of conversation was the tax-exempt status of credit unions.
During the meeting, NAFCU said that Treasury provided further assurance of the administration's positive view of credit unions. "It was a positive discussion," Becker said. "We appreciated the opportunity to meet with Mr. Solomon and look forward to a continued, productive relationship with this key policy office on behalf of our member credit unions."
Solomon reinforced the statement sent to NAFCU last month by his deputy, Robert Carroll, clarifying that Treasury's broad review of business taxation and the global economy does not advocate the removal of credit unions' tax-exempt status.
NAFCU Encouraged by SBA's 2008 Draft Of 2008-2012 Strategic Plan
ARLINGTON, Va. -- Looking forward to a continued relationship, NAFCU recently applauded the Small Business Administration for its work with credit unions and its Draft Fiscal Year 2008-2012 Strategic Plan.
The plan describes SBA's mission, strategic goals, objectives, and means and strategies to achieve a number of goals including outlining the direction that SBA will take as it moves ahead to expand opportunities for America's small businesses and to assist victims of federally-declared disasters.
"The credit union community is firmly committed to helping small business owners and entrepreneurs achieve greater access to financing and to increase ownership in economically distressed and underserved communities," wrote Pamela Yu, NAFCU associate director of regulatory affairs in a Sept. 10 comment letter.
Within its 2008-2012 plan, SBA's four strategic goals are to expand service in underserved markets, provide timely financial assistance to homeowners, renters, nonprofit organizations and businesses affected by disaster, improve the economic environment for small business and ensure management and organizational excellence to increase responsiveness to customers, streamline processes, and improve compliance and controls.
Yu reminded that NAFCU is also supporting H.R. 1849, the Credit Union Small Business Lending Act, introduced in the 110th Congress by Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) of the House Committee on Small Business to improve the ability of credit unions to participate in SBA programs by enacting some key provisions that are pivotal steps toward facilitating more SBA loans by credit unions and encouraging increased business lending practices.
To access the draft strategic plan, go to http://www.sba.gov/aboutsba/budgetsplans/serv_budget_strategicplan.html. The comment period deadline was Sept. 10.
Hood Travels to Maine for Open Discussions
ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- NCUA Vice Chairman Rodney Hood applauded the collaborative manner in which credit unions work to face common problems during a Senior Managers Forum hosted by the Maine Credit Union League.
The forum offered credit union leaders the opportunity for frank discussion regarding current issues facing credit unions. "Credit unions are making a positive impact on the financial industry, but constant advancement does not happen without strong leadership, vision and commitment," Hood said, acknowledging Maine league president John Murphy and the league for organizing the session. He also pointed out that Maine credit unions exceeded the national average in most categories.
Credit unions need this leadership and collaboration to continue to evolve and grow. "I applaud the collaborative environment that this forum has created," stated Hood.
He also applauded the daily impact that credit unions make nationwide through financial education programs, innovative outreach efforts to underserved areas, and small business development.
In closing, Hood said, "I know that we can work together to continue helping families achieve the American dream of homeownership--that we can assist entrepreneurs in creating small, viable businesses, and we can provide the trusted resources for families to save for their future."
NAFCU's Pat Morris Featured in CEO Update
ARLINGTON, Va. -- NAFCU Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer Pat Morris was destined to lead, a recent feature in the bi-weekly newsletter CEO Update stated.
The article, which ran in the Aug. 31 issue, says Morris claims leadership skills from all his past work experiences, whether in the Marine Corps, on the Hill in Washington, and at state and national trade associations. In NAFCU's No. 2 spot, Morris manages the directors of each of the departments from accounting to marketing to education, and works closely with NAFCU Services Corp.
"Management isn't something that you do after you worked for 10 to 15 years," Morris is quoted as saying. "You have to embrace it and you have to be comfortable that you have the talent to do it."
Morris joined the Marines right out of college and completed graduate school, entering the Presidential Management Intern Program. He then worked as a legislative assistant for Senator John Warner (R-Va.), and a regional director for the USDA's Federal Crop Insurance Corporation. At 35, he became CEO of the Kansas Association of Insurance Agents, then secretary general of the Produce Marketing Association. Just prior to joining NAFCU seven months ago, Morris served at the Information Technology Industry Council, leading an international team in developing computer standards.