<p>WASHINGTON – Representatives from NACUSO, NAFCU, NASCUS and the CUNA Mutual Group met the afternoon of May 23 at the National Press Club here to compare notes from their individual meetings with the SEC on the issue of the agency extending CUSO's license exemption, and to discuss a collective strategy for possible future joint discussions with the SEC. Noticeably absent from the room, said some of the attendees, were representatives from CUNA. The association had, it turned out, met separately with NACUSO earlier in the day to discuss the association's tactics. Jeff Bloch, associate general counsel for CUNA, and one of three CUNA representatives at the morning's meeting, said CUNA's meeting had been planned "well in advance of CUNA Mutual Group's calling of the May 23rd meeting," and that CUNA did not attend the afternoon meeting with the other associations' representatives "because of a scheduling conflict." Others from CUNA who attended the morning meeting were Mary Dunn, senior vice president of regulatory affairs/associate general counsel; John McKechnie, senior vice president of governmental affairs; and Gigi Hyland, regulatory staff attorney and corporate credit union liason. Attending from NACUSO were President Bob Dorsa, and General Counsel Guy Messick. CUNA used its meeting to brief NACUSO on the discussions the association has had with the SEC concerning the agency's decision not to extend CUSOs' license exemption in offering brokerage services. CUNA has directed Dick Ensweiler, president/CEO of the Texas Credit Union League and chairman of CUNA Governnmental Affairs Committee to set up a task force under the committee to address the SEC/CUSO issue. CUNA said Larry Blanchard from CMG will be invited to join the task force, as will a NACUSO representative. At press time, it was unclear whether other trade associations would be invited to join CUNA's task force. "In the next couple of weeks, I'll be naming a Task Force that is representative of players in the credit union movement. We're on the same team as NACUSO and feel it's critical to take action now. We want a solution whereby credit unions and CUSOs face no undue hardships compared with other financial providers," said Ensweiler. During a networking session on the SEC/CUSO issue that was held during NACUSO's recent annual conference in Las Vegas, the idea was advanced that credit unions stood a better chance with the SEC if they presented a concerted effort, rather than if they meet with the SEC individually. CUNA meanwhile plans to continue its dialogue with the SEC and urge the agency to clarify that it will refrain from further action against credit unions and CUSOs until May 2003, just as the agency announced on May 8 it will do with the rule as it applies to banks and thrifts (CU Times, May 22). NAFCU attendees – President/CEO Fred Becker, Director of Regulatory Affairs Gwen Baker and Senior VP Bill Donovan said they considered the afternoon's meeting "productive." Speaking for the group, Donovan said, "NAFCU, NACUSO, NASCUS and CUNA Mutual have developed a common strategy, a common approach, a common goal plan in dealing with that issue. So we are not only ready and willing and able, but actually involved in working cooperative with the other parties that are interested in resolving that issue." NAFCU plans to continue to work within the group, and it does not intend to meet separately with the SEC. NASCUS President Doug Duerr, who attended along with associates Vice President, National Advocacy Jonathan Lindley, and Director of Legal and Policy Analysis Brian Knight, said NASCUS wants to make sure that if state laws allow state-chartered credit unions incidental power to provide brokerage services, that "no decision is passed down by the SEC that adversely affects that ability." Duerr said NASCUS is in the process of conducting a survey among state regulators to ascertain information about their incidental powers. Based on the information NASCUS has received back so far, Duerr said "it gives us a sense that most states, because of the way the laws are written, give state-chartered credit unions more latitude in this area than federal credit unions have." -</p> <p>[email protected]</p>

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