WASHINGTON – At the request of seven banking and financial groups, the SEC has extended the comment period from Aug. 2 to Sept. 1 for a proposal that would allow credit unions, banks and thrifts to engage in certain securities activities without registering as brokers. The American Bankers Association/ABA Securities Association, America’s Community Bankers, Bank Insurance and Securities Association, The Clearing House Association, The Financial Services Roundtable, Independent Community Bankers of America and the Institute of International Bankers sent a July 1 letter to the SEC asking for an extension until Aug. 30. The SEC said other individuals had also requested more time. Provisions within the SEC’s proposed Regulation B that are of most interest to credit unions are providing onsite or electronic registered broker services for members and earning a percentage of the resulting commissions; setting up arrangements to sweep funds in member share accounts into and out of no-load money market mutual funds; and buying and selling securities for their own accounts and as fiduciaries for their members. In a the letter to the SEC, the groups wrote “our member organizations believe that Regulation B will dramatically affect the business operations of banks. Indeed, we believe this rulemaking is one of the most complicated and important affecting the banking industry. Because of Regulation B’s complexity, banks will need carefully to assess the impact it will have on banks’ traditional activities.” While the groups appreciated “the efforts of the Commission and its staff in seeking the input of the banking industry in preparing the current proposal, our preliminary review of the proposal has identified a number of issues that will require consultation with a number of units within our member banks, a process that is expected to take considerable time.” -msamaad@cutimes.com