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WASHINGTON-NAFCU recently received the official invitation to testify before the House Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee in preparation for regulatory relief legislation. The hearing is tentatively scheduled for sometime later in May, according to NAFCU Director of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler. “They have not had a hearing with industry witnesses in a couple of years,” he noted. He expects lawmakers to follow up with a hearing involving the regulators as well later in the congressional session. CUNA declined to comment on whether they have been invited to testify, citing an agreement to remain mum until the hearing is announced. NAFCU has not determined who will be testifying for them yet, Thaler said. The group will likely raise the net worth definition change and NCUA’s risk-based capital proposal for inclusion in a reg relief bill, he said. Even though the subcommittee is looking at holding a hearing, Thaler said an actual bill would be coming afterward. He expects the legislative language to be similar to the bills that have overwhelmingly passed the House in recent years. The Senate has been hung up on an issue with Industrial Loan Companies in the last couple Congresses. Though the House has worked out a compromise, Thaler said, “it has not been embraced by the Senate.” However, he said he has heard from staff that the Senate will likely look at the issue in some fashion in June or July. “On the Senate side, the issue remains in play. They expect that they will have some focus on regulatory relief by this summer,” Thaler reported. This will likely take place in June or July, he explained, after working through the Government Sponsored Enterprise issue and others in the Senate. The credit union provisions have also had some in the banking industry working to chip away at the legislation. Thaler pointed out that in a previous hearing a few years ago, Subcommittee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) told the banking witnesses they “do not want to hear what not to give credit unions.” Title III of H.R. 1375 last Congress included provisions to allow privately insured credit unions to join the Federal Home Loan Bank System; permit low-cost leases of land on military bases for credit unions; allow investment in certain securities; up the 12-year loan maturity limit to 15 years; increase the cap on CUSO investments from 1% to 3%; exclude loans to non-profit religious organizations from the definition of member business lending; permit credit unions to offer check cashing and money transfer services to anyone within their field of membership; allow credit unions to continue to serve select employee groups outside the community upon conversion to a community charter; makes technical governance changes; authorizes NCUA to better respond to market conditions; exempt credit unions from pre-merger notification requirements; and amends the treatment of credit unions under securities laws. [email protected]

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