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LINCOLN, Neb. – Taking over a legislative ritual routinely carried out by the Nebraska Credit Union League, the state division regulating CUs has now agreed to introduce the perennial “wild card” bill giving state charters parity with federals. “We will have parity as part of our agenda in 2004,” forecast Ray Pont, deputy director of the Nebraska Department of Banking & Finance. Under state law, “wild card” equity must be renewed each session of the legislature. The state’s “wild card” move follows a special Nov. 10 meeting, described as “productive and useful,” held with Port and other department officials along with executives of state-chartered CUs and organized by the League. Turning to other issues, Pont said that despite shortfalls in the state’s fiscal budget impacting education and other areas, the deputy director forecast no fallout in the department funding or staffing next year. “It has been a tough year agriculturally but credit unions have done fine,” commented Kent Plummer, review examiner and the recently appointed top CU regulator in the state, who also was at the Nov. 10 meeting. The League’s “get acquainted” session, said Plummer, “should become an annual event” following the pattern conducted by the Nebraska Bankers Association in which he participated. Plummer noted that his background has been mostly examining banks and he took over the CU regulatory job following a reorganization of duties in the department. The League said the meeting with regulators was set up “to bring the regulator and the regulated together in an informal and relaxed environment.” Any time CUs and the Department “can engage themselves in constructive conversation it tends to be a win-win for everyone involved,” said Scott Sullivan, League president and CEO. The state has 28 state chartered CUs. Other topics discussed at the meeting included: joint exams with NCUA, risk-focused exams, corporate governance, privacy/identity theft and allowance for loan and lease losses.

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