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WASHINGTON-Though time did not permit industry representatives from commenting during a roundtable on Hurricane Katrina relief efforts in the House Financial Services Committee, CUNA provided written remarks from President and CEO Dan Mica. On Sept. 7, the committee held a briefing in the morning to get an idea of what was being done to get the financial services industry back to some semblance of normal in the aftermath of Katrina. The Senate Banking Committee held a similar meeting later that afternoon. Among the issues discussed at the roundtable was the possibility of temporarily raising the federal deposit insurance limits in the affected area to preempt any potential run on uninsured deposits at institutions that consumers may fear will fail, according to NAFCU Director of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler. The implications of that action, such as setting precedent, need to be weighed, as well as Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby’s (R-Ala.) general opposition to raising deposit insurance coverage. There was also discussion of whether any type of regulatory relief is necessary for the stricken institutions, he said. Thaler explained, “There aren’t any hard proposals on the table yet.” NCUA Region II Director Ed Dupcak, who is heading up the agency’s task force on Katrina, represented the agency at the roundtable. “The goal is to ensure each credit union member has access to financial service to meet their immediate needs,” Dupcak told the committee members. “NCUA has formed staging areas outside the impacted areas to assist credit unions on an individual basis.” Of the 139 impacted credit unions, 32 are non-operational in Louisiana, along with five in Mississippi and one in Alabama. The fully and partially operating credit unions account for over 90% of assets and members. He also informed lawmakers of NCUA’s taskforce and phone and e-mail hotlines. The agency had received more than 1,000 calls at the time of the hearing, mostly from credit unions asking for access to cash. In related news, NCUA Chairman JoAnn Johnson announced that she would be making a trip down South to get a first-hand look at the devastation and hardship credit unions have endured. Also at the House Financial Services Committee briefing, NASCUS President and CEO Mary Martha Fortney explained how NASCUS had contacted the state agencies and examiners following the storm “about how they are doing and how we can be helpful,” she said. Fortney explained about the group’s `reserve examiner’ program, which maintains a database of recently retired examiners. NASCUS has contacted them about helping out and several have responded favorably, but it is too early in the process to call them up yet because “the states have to assess exactly what they need.” Individual states have been very helpful also, Fortney pointed out. The Georgia state regulator, where many Katrina evacuees have flocked, is encouraging credit unions to cash non-member checks. Florida, having suffered four hurricanes in a row last year, offered up its emergency preparedness plans to the affected states in order to try to stem the chaos among the hard-hit credit unions. CUNA President and CEO Dan Mica provided written testimony to the committee. He outlined CU disaster relief efforts following Katrina’s destruction-such as PrimeWay FCU and Associated Credit Union of Texas, which have sent in mobile branches, and Barksdale FCU in Shreveport, La., which is cashing checks up to $200 for hurricane victims. [email protected]

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