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WASHINGTON – Stating that NCUA’s proposed rule to relax certain provisions in the agency’s regulations concerning advertising and posting notice of nondiscrimination in real estate-related lending will bring the rule “more in line with the nondiscrimination advertising rules of other regulators,” CUNA congratulated the NCUA Board for giving FCUs a broader choice in what they can use in their advertisements and fair lending posters. “It is appropriate to allow FCUs the option of continuing to comply as they have in the past while at the same time allowing them the flexibility of using alternative logotype, language, and posters not previously available to them under the rule,” CUNA’s Associate General Counsel Mary Dunn wrote. The proposed rule “will make it easier for them (federal credit unions) to publicize the credit union’s commitment to equal credit opportunities for their members.” Among the changes the proposed rule would make: * It would replace the mandatory logotype and language with a general requirement that FCUs indicate that they do not discriminate on any prohibited basis, including race, color, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, or familiar status; * Regarding oral advertisements, a CU may satisfy the notice requirement by a spoken statement that the credit union is an “Equal Housing Lender” or an “Equal Opportunity Lender.” The current rule requires the phrase “Equal Housing Lender”; * The current regulations also require display inside the FCU of an NCUA-developed poster notifying members of the CU’s nondiscrimination compliance. The proposed rule would allow an FCU to display either the NCUA poster or a similar poster prepared by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; * The current NCUA rule prohibits advertising with words, symbols, models, or other forms of communication that suggest a discriminatory policy or exclusion in violation of the Fair Housing Act. The current rule also notes that the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) prohibits discrimination for certain categories of persons. The proposed rule explicitly states that the ECOA requirements must also be met for advertisements. CUNA also supports, Dunn wrote, “the guidance regarding oral advertisements. Further, based on credit unions’ comments, we do not believe the addition of express language requiring advertising to meet ECOA requirements will increase the compliance burden for FCUs.” That’s because, she explained, credit unions already review their real estate-related lending advertising to make sure it’s ECOA compliant. -

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