WASHINGTON-The House Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee last week got an earful from credit unions and banks on lightening their respective regulatory loads. Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) is currently working on drafting overall regulatory relief legislation. From the credit union perspective, current and new proposals were trumpeted. CUNA Chairman Dick Ensweiler, president and CEO of the Texas CU League, commented, “Regulatory burden is an issue for all financial institutions generally, and credit unions in particular. Indeed, credit unions are the most heavily regulated of all financial institutions.” CUNA attached to its written testimony the list of 137 rules credit unions must follow. Ensweiler pointed to the current conversion attempts of two large Texas credit unions to mutual savings banks, which likely could be avoided if most of the provisions in the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act (H.R. 2317) became law. He noted CUNA’s backing of that bill as well as the previous Financial Services Regulatory Relief Acts. In addition, CUNA asked that Congress: * Permit community credit unions to continue adding members from groups that were part of the field of membership before converting to a community charter but are now outside the community; * Allow credit unions to serve underserved areas with an ATM; * Eliminate the restraint that only one NCUA Board member can have credit union experience; and * Work against a potential rulemaking by the Financial Accounting Standards Board regarding the accounting treatment of loan participations as sales under an amendment Standard 140. Dismissing bankers’ remarks against credit unions, NAFCU Board Member Bob Marquette, president and CEO of Members 1st FCU in Mechanicsburg, Pa., stated, “NAFCU is pleased to report to the Committee that credit unions today are vibrant and healthy.it is important to note that over the past 24 years, the credit union market share, as a percentage of financial assets, has not changed and as a consequence credit unions provide little competitive threat to other financial institutions.” NAFCU strongly backs all but one of the provisions from previous versions of the Financial Services Regulatory Relief Act, Marquette emphasized; however, NAFCU has previously stated it is not opposing the provision that would give privately insured credit unions access to the Federal Home Loan Banks. He added that NAFCU also supports the Prompt Corrective Action and business lending amendments contained in CURIA. “Given the bipartisan support CURIA has enjoyed, NAFCU hopes that the Committee will consider including these provisions in any regulatory relief bill introduced in the House,” Marquette said. The American Bankers Association, America’s Community Bankers, and Independent Community Bankers of America also testified, as well as J. Michael Keeling, president of The ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) Association. -

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