WASHINGTON -- NCUA is placing new attention on credit unionmembers, CUNA Deputy General Counsel and Senior Vice President MaryDunn reported back from CUNA's Attorneys Conference in JacksonHole, Wyo.

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NCUA General Counsel Bob Fenner told about 125 credit unionattorneys from around the country that NCUA has honed its "focus onputting members first." Issues the agency will be looking at butnot necessarily issuing any rulemakings on include mutual savingsbank conversions, mergers, and the adequacy of disclosures inprivate insurance. Additionally, NCUA is working on a final rule onthe conflict of interest in eligible obligations and red flags fromthe Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, as well as affiliatemarketing.

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"The Board has taken proactive steps to enhance memberprotection and transparency through inspection of records, and isconsidering action in the same vein regarding bylaw enforcement,"he said. "These are part of NCUA's overall efforts to make certainthat the members are the decision makers when it comes to mattersrelated to ownership and structure of their credit union."

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As Credit Union Times previously reported (July 18, 2007 issue),the agency has shifted focus over 2007 from regulatory relief toconsumer protectionism, taking its cues from the currentDemocrat-controlled Congress. "Also, there is an increased emphasisby Congress on consumer protection in a variety of areas such ashome mortgage lending, credit card disclosure, and garnishment offederal benefits," Fenner noted. "NCUA has been asked by Congresson several instances to provide information on our consumerprotection enforcement, and I expect this to continue throughoutthe 110th Congress."

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In March, NCUA testified before Congress on problems in thesubprime mortgage market and credit unions' lack of involvement inthe riskier loans. Again in May, NCUA testified again on creditcard disclosures and fair lending and the Home Mortgage DisclosureAct in July.

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Also in May, House Financial Services Committee Chairman BarneyFrank (D-Mass.) and John Dingell (D-Mich.) sent a letter to severalof the federal financial services regulators, though not NCUA,which intimated that if the regulators did not take appropriatesteps, directives would be handed down to them.

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