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WASHINGTON — Most legislative issues of interest for credit unions have died for this Congress, but credit union lobbyists have held out a beacon of hope for the Financial Services Regulatory Relief Act. While the legislation is not as expansive as the industry would like–and likely will have very few amendments from its current form–credit unions are hoping to push it past the goal post this Congress after 10 years. For credit unions specifically, the bill includes changing in the definition of net worth for the merger accounting change being pursued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board; extending the loan maturity limit from 12 to 15 years; permitting check cashing and wire transfers for all potential members; and allowing for low- and no-cost land leases on military installations. It would also authorize the Fed to pay interest on sterile Reg D reserves. Lobbyists agreed that there is some interest to get government-sponsored enterprise reform legislation moving in the House, particularly on the part of House Financial Services Committee Chairman Mike Oxley (R-Ohio). However, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) has said he will only allow non-controversial items to come to the floor. Anti-predatory lending provisions are also a possibility in the Department of Defense reauthorization language.

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