WASHINGTON-In a letter to key lawmakers, CUNA supported reauthorization of the Federal Reserve Board's annual retail bank fee study and the inclusion of credit unions. CUNA emphasized the importance of the data to consumers. "CUNA has a long-standing belief that consumers need more, not less, information about the costs associated with financial transactions. In fact, CUNA economists use information garnered from the surveys to assist in the development of fee comparison data. Given the changes brought about by the passage of landmark financial services reform during the 106th Congress, it would be especially unfortunate at this time to reduce public knowledge of fees," CUNA President and CEO Dan Mica wrote in a letter to Financial Services Chairman Mike Oxley (R-Ohio), Ranking Member Barney Frank (D-Mass), Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), and Subcommittee Ranking Member Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.). "In addition, last year's provision included for the first time credit union fees, the result of which is that the fee reports would more broadly represent the consumer marketplace and provide consumers with a truer comparison." CUNA Chief Economist Bill Hampel added, "As it is, we used the Fed study in the past to do our own comparison of credit union fees, but we felt that instead of having CUNA produce those results that it would be more widely seen and accepted if it came right out of the Fed." CUNA recommended either of two bills as a vehicle for the study: H.R. 758, permitting banks to pay interest on business checking accounts, or H.R. 859, allowing the Fed to pay interest on credit union and bank's sterile reserves. Those bills have since been combined and retained the number H.R. 758 and were to be marked up shortly after press time. Mica pointed out that the study was part of the combined legislation last Congress. The Federal Deposit Insurance Reform Act of 2003 (H.R. 522) and The Unlawful Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act of 2003 (H.R. 21) were also scheduled to be marked up with the business checking and sterile reserves bill on March 13.

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