WASHINGTON – August is the month when Congress and many of Washington’s other officials take some time away from the city’s notorious summer heat and humidity, but even with many legislators away work has been moving forward, according to CUNA executives. One area of progress has been the continued proliferation of CURIA co-sponsors. One of CUNA’s lobbyist’s has predicted that the number of CURIA co-sponsors will climb rapidly over 80 when Congress returns from its summer recess after Labor Day. Currently the bill has 77 co-sponsors. Even with everyone gone, Gary Kohn, senior legislative counsel explained, meetings are still ongoing and he knew of several Congressional members who had expressed an interest in signing on to support the legislation as soon as they return. Kohn also said that CUNA lobbyists were meeting with Congressional staff to see about making sure the capital reform for credit unions is added to this Congress’ version of the regulatory relief legislation. Kohn also explained that, on the Senate side, CUNA hopes to seek more progress on the Administration’s nomination of Rodney Hood to the NCUA Board. The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs confirmed a flurry of nominations to financial regulators before Congress broke for August and that should clear its calendar a bit and make it a little more likely that the panel will get around to holding a hearing for Hood, according to Kohn. Kohn explained that the association had not received any specific signals about the nomination but felt encouraged by the panel’s clearing its calendar and hopeful that Hood’s nomination might move in early September. No one has been nominated yet to replace Debbie Matz, who holds the Democratic seat on the board. There are also indications that an NCUA examiner issue has been heating up. In July, NCUA proposed new regulations which would limit the ability of certain NCUA examiners to work for credit unions that they have examined. CUNA has asked its member credit unions for their comments on the proposal and the other federal banking regulators have proposed regulations which are substantially similar to NCUA’s. The regulations are required under the Intelligence Reform Act which Congress passed late in 2004. The new proposed rule would prohibit senior NCUA examiners from working for an institution they examined for two or more months during their last 12 months of employment with NCUA for a year after they left the agency. To be covered under this an examiner must be one “who has continuing, broad, and lead responsibility for examining a particular federally-insured credit union, routinely interacts with officers or employees of the credit union, and devotes a substantial portion of his or her time to supervising or examining that credit union.” CUNA has asked its members to comment on whether they found the definition of the examiners covered to be too broad and whether they think the one-year time period is long enough. Meanwhile, the FDIC is preparing a proposed rule that would clearly establish federal insurance coverage for stored value cards and other electronic transactions, according to notice from the agency. Under the proposal, funds used to purchase or support stored value cards and electronic transactions would be insured by FDIC as long as those funds are stored at an FDIC-insured depository institution. The move would not impact credit unions directly but might require the NCUA to consider offering similar coverage from the Share Insurance Fund in order to keep stored value cards backed by credit union deposits competitive. The proposal does not provide federal insurance for prepaid cards issued in “closed systems” such as retailers or mass transit systems. [email protected]

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