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NEW YORK – Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) had the Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union as a backdrop to announce her support for a legislative effort that would codify credit unions’ ability to make international wire transfers. Although at least 225 credit unions around the country already provide the service through IRNet, a remittance network established by the World Council of Credit Unions, they do so on the strength of a regulatory opinion from NCUA, according to David Grace, WOCCU’s regulatory and financial affairs manager. The legislation consists of two bills, S. 1359 and S. 1344, introduced by Senators Boxer (D-Calif.) and Corzine (D-N.J.). The bills would both set the NCUA’s opinion into statute as well as mandate increased disclosures of fees associated with international money transfers. Clinton went to the $12.3 million community development credit union to announce her support for the measures. Legislative supporters had scheduled the press conference to roughly coincide with Mother’s Day, a time of year when the highest volume of remittances are sent from the Latino community to support the families and the communities back home. In 2003, the single largest volume of transfers for remittances was the Friday before Mother’s Day, according to WOCCU. “With the help of the proposed new legislation sponsored by Senator Clinton and increased awareness in the credit union movement about the need to serve this market, we are hopeful that thousands of immigrants will have access not only to inexpensive international remittances but also to the consumer-friendly, affordable financial services and education opportunities that credit unions provide,” said Pablo DeFilippi, Lower East Side’s CEO. If signed into law, the legislation would mandate that firms providing overseas wire transfer services fully disclose the fees that would be charged at both the U.S. and foreign sides of the transaction. -

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