<p>WASHINGTON-The Treasury Department is considering creating an interagency rule-writing board in an effort to streamline financial services regulation, Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions Sheila C. Bair told American Banker. Bair, who left the department last week for a teaching job, was also the main contact person for credit union trade associations at Treasury. Bair said the plan could be out early next year and that the group would be independent of Treasury. “We’re very seriously eyeing . some type of coordinating body, at least for rulemaking, that would provide a more streamlined vehicle for developing uniform rules,” she said in an interview with the Banker. “Initially it would be with the banking agencies, though I do think there is some need for those rulemakings with cross-jurisdiction impact to bring in” the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. “Obviously we can’t make specific comments without seeing the actual proposal,” NAFCU Communications Manager John Zimmerman said. “NAFCU’s consistent concern in this area we regularly relay to Congress, or in fact carve out provisions in legislation, is that credit unions are unique financial institutions that rulemaking authority must go to NCUA to account for those differences.However, we might very well welcome establishment of a mechanism that reduces regulatory burden on credit unions at the same time it’s presumably reducing regulatory burden for all financial institutions.” Special Assistant for Public Relations to the NCUA Chairman Nick Owens commented that NCUA “values the opportunity to coordinate whenever possible.” He added that NCUA has been in ongoing communication with the Treasury Department. CUNA Vice President of Communications and Media Outreach Pat Keefe was more wary of the prospects of an interagency rulemaking body. He noted that CUNA has not seen details and “is not interested in NCUA being involved in a group that takes independence away from the agency and credit unions.”</p>

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