WASHINGTON-NAFCU reiterated a few areas of concern regarding the Renaissance Commission recommendations during the most recent meeting of the National Credit Union Legislative and Regulatory Coordinating Council last week. The Coordinating Council was conceived during the H.R. 1151 battle and was scheduled to meet quarterly, but the frequency of meetings has decreased due to the less urgency of issues, according to NAFCU Communications Manager John Zimmerman. When the council met last, during CUNA's Governmental Affairs Conference in February, NAFCU President and CEO Fred Becker said that NAFCU expressed concerns about some of the suggestions included in the Renaissance report, which CUNA's Board is to vote on in a few weeks. Items of concern that NAFCU reiterated include separating the regulator from the insurer, allowing private share insurance for federal credit unions, and open fields of membership (FOMs). "It is vital to preserve the unique and distinct nature of credit unions," Becker emphasized. He added that NAFCU's stance is nothing new. "We've been pretty consistent in what we've said so far as to our concerns," he said. These areas of concern could lead to NAFCU opposing legislation, according to Becker. CUNA President and CEO Dan Mica called the Renaissance Commission a "secondary issue" of the Coordinating Council meeting, which NAFCU raised. Mica said NAFCU was clear that they were not taking a formal opposition to any of the items on CUNA's wish list, but simply wanted to raise their concerns to the attention of the CUNA board. "Our board is going to give thoughtful consideration to everyone's views." Mica said. But, instead of focusing on what NAFCU may or may not oppose in the Renaissance Commission report, representatives presented CUNA with the five principles which NAFCU will stand by. Becker discussed the principles during NAFCU's Annual Conference in July. While not advocating open FOMs, NAFCU said there are plenty FOM changes it would agree to, including: * Eliminating `local' from the definition of community; * Eliminating the preference for starting new credit unions in the Credit Union Membership Access Act (CUMAA) instead of adding select employee groups (SEGs); *Allowing community-SEG combinations; * Allowing voluntary mergers; * Easing FCU's ability to add low-income groups; and * Allowing community FCUs to serve communities merge or spun off other municipalities. NAFCU would also like to chip away at the member business lending restrictions in CUMAA, which is also included in CUNA's list of Renaissance Commission recommendations. Additionally, NAFCU's `Guiding Principles' include retaining volunteer boards, permitting secondary capital, maintaining NCUA's independence, and keeping the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) strong. Mica added again that CUNA's board would take NAFCU's principles into consideration when making their decision. The final decision on how to proceed will be CUNA's. Mica said that CUNA does not want to cause division within the credit union community, but if NAFCU is dead set against an issue, it will not necessarily prevent CUNA from proceeding. He said it eventually could boil down to association versus credit union politics and what CUNA members want. "One group should not hold another group hostage to their views.We don't want to get into that game," he said. [email protected]

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