Rep. Hank Johnson Latest CURIA Co-Sponsor; Texas Co-Sponsors Seek Hearing, Markup
WASHINGTON -- Freshman Congressman Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) recently signed on as the latest co-sponsor to the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act (H.R. 1537).
With the addition of Johnson (D-Ga.), the number of lawmakers backing CURIA rose to 129, including primary sponsor Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.). In the previous Congress, CURIA had garnered 125 over the two years; right now Congress is just weeks away from the scheduled adjournment of the first session of the 110th Congress.
CURIA would establish a risk-based capital framework, expand member business lending, and permit all federal credit union charter types to adopt underserved areas. It would also require a 30% voter participation requirement in credit union to mutual savings bank conversion, among other things.
On Sept. 21, a contingency of CURIA co-sponsors from Texas began circulating a "dear colleague" letter seeking support for a hearing and markup on the bill before the first session of the 110th Congress recesses.
The letter states that credit unions' ability to adopt underserved areas is "of particular interest" to Texas credit unions. "At least 22 Texas credit unions have been told that they can no longer add underserved areas and are only a lawsuit away from losing the low income areas they already serve."
It continued, "Another issue of importance to the Texas credit unions we represent is the ability to diversify investment options." CURIA would permit federal credit unions to invest in investment grade bonds and double the amount that can be invested in CUSOs.
"In conclusion," it stated, "we once again respectfully ask that the House Committee on Financial Services hold a hearing and a markup on CURIA. Committee action on this legislation is vital to 89 million Americans who are credit union members."
Texas Representatives Ron Paul (R), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D), Solomon Ortiz (D), Ted Poe (R), Silvestre Reyes (D), and Ciro Rodriguez (D) signed the letter.
In related news, Jos?(C) Serrano's (D-N.Y.) bill (H.R. 3113) that would clarify congressional intent that all federal credit union charter types should be able to adopt underserved areas--a key provision in CURIA--now has 21 co-sponsors in addition to Serrano, the latest being Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), who added her name Sept. 14.