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<p>WASHINGTON-While the first week of the second session of the 107th Congress is not expected to be extremely busy, things should pick up following the State of the Union address by President George W. Bush this week. “I think one of the first things you’re going to see in the Financial Services Committee is a focus on Enron,” CUNA Vice President and Senior Legislative Counsel Gary Kohn predicted. While the House Financial Services Committee is expected to take up issues relating to the collapse of Enron, which some have said was due to a lack of regulatory oversight, this should not interfere with regulatory relief proposals initiated last fall by Financial Services Chairman Mike Oxley (R-Ohio). Oxley had requested that the regulatory relief suggestions for inclusion in his bill be noncontroversial so as to easily pass out of Congress. NAFCU Director of Legislative and Political Affairs Brad Thaler explained that Enron should not affect the first financial services regulatory relief to include credit unions because, “This is much more of a relief bill than a reform bill.” He added that NAFCU was still going to make further suggestions by the end of the month, as requested by the committee, and they will not be tainted by Enron. NAFCU Senior Vice President and General Counsel Bill Donovan clarified that the trade association is mainly asking lawmakers to provide “NCUA with tools to allow the agency to mitigate risk.” Thaler said that markup of the regulatory relief legislation should begin around the end of March or early April. CUNA also plans to submit additional recommendations to the committee for regulatory relief. The credit union provisions included in the regulatory relief working paper by the committee were comprised of providing NCUA authority to set a maturity limit on loans; giving NCUA power to determine credit unions’ investment limit in credit union service organizations; granting credit unions expanded investment authorities; allowing for nominal land lease agreements for credit unions on military bases; and allowing state chartered, privately insured credit unions to join the Federal Home Loan Bank System.</p>

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