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WASHINGTON-Credit unions’ hallmark bill during the second session of the 108th Congress, the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act (H.R. 3579), has enjoyed broad bipartisan support from nearly one-sixth of the members of the House of Representatives. Sixty-nine members of the House have signed onto the legislation, which was introduced at the very end of the first session of the 108th Congress. When the 109th Congress begins in January 2004, the bill will have to start the legislative process all over again. H.R. 3579 includes a number of regulatory relief elements, as well as some expansion of authorities. The bill would raise credit unions’ member business lending cap to 20%, establish a risk-based capital system, and permit credit unions to lease unused office space in low-income areas without the impact from the fixed asset rule. Banks, of course, have been adamantly opposed to the bill and lobbying lawmakers not to sign on as co-sponsors. [email protected]

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