Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Fight's not over for CU relief

WASHINGTON (4/30/08)—The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) said Tuesday that the fight on Capitol Hill for credit unions and their members will continue, despite banker attempts to derail the Credit Union Regulatory Relief Act (CURRA, H.R. 5519) this week.
"This is not over. We will continue to push for passage of CURRA," CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica said Tuesday.

CUNA's lobbying team was on Capitol Hill early Tuesday morning after learning that a much-anticipated action on CURRA was pulled from the day's House voting schedule.
CURRA's noncontroversial status changed when the bankers disregarded House leadership wishes and objected to the credit union bill. House leaders had planned to pair the credit union measure with a regulatory relief bill for banks.

"From our perspective, the bankers thumbed their noses at House and committee leadership by violating an agreement for each of our industries to get relatively modest regulatory relief legislation now and work on broader elements later," Mica said, adding that he had talked to the bill's key sponsors, Reps. Paul Kanjorski (D-Penn.) and Ed Royce (R-Calif.).

"They are determined to bring CURRA back to the House floor for a vote as soon as possible either on suspension or under regular order," Mica said.

He noted that in coming days, CUNA will be holding private discussions with the two congressmen, as well as with Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) of the House Financial Services Committee, to assess strategy and options.

Mica also said that had the bankers stuck by the agreement and not interfered with credit union legislation, the bill likely would have been approved easily in the House.

"By our whip count, we had at least 80% of the House with us yesterday had a vote been allowed to proceed. So we feel we go into these discussions in a strong position," Mica told credit unions.
CURRA proposes, among other things, to permit federal credit unions to add service to underserved areas regardless of original field of membership. It would also omit member business loans to underserved areas from counting toward the current cap.

CUNA and the leagues support CURRA, but emphasize that credit unions need additional regulatory relief measures that are included in the provisions of the broader credit union bill, the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act (CURIA, H.R. 1537). CURIA would address the overall member business lending cap and approve a risk-based capital system for credit unions.

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