January 30, 2014
Thursday Edition
State of the Union speaks of tax changes, jobs, and housing finance reforms

Of key interest to credit unions, Pres. Obama made broad remarks about possible changes to the country's tax code.

CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney assured credit unions that nothing in the State of the Union remarks indicated that the credit union tax status is under any more scrutiny right now than any other tax expenditure. 

"In fact," Cheney said, "through our conversations with the administration and on Capitol Hill, it is apparent that not all tax provisions are created equal, and the strong public policy reasons behind the  credit union tax status remain as compelling today as they were when first adopted."

Cheney added, however, that tax policy discussions are still very much in play, and it is imperative that credit unions continue their strong advocacy efforts on behalf of their federal income tax exemption throughout those discussions, through CUNA's "Don't Tax My Credit Union" initiative and through in-person meetings with policymakers at all levels of government.

Pres. Obama also spoke in favor of patent reforms. CUNA backs legislation that would curb abusive patent litigation by removing some of the financial incentives sought by firms that assert low-quality patents. So-called "patent trolls" continue to use low-quality patents to try to extract settlements from credit unions and others. Credit unions have been sued for the use of certain ATM technologies, check imaging applications and check cashing applications, and providing members with mobile transactions through their smartphones.

Pres. Obama also took the occasion of his annual address to encourage Congress to move forward on restructuring the country's housing finance system. CUNA urges Congress as it considers comprehensive housing finance reform, to ensure that credit unions and other community financial institutions continue to have access to the secondary mortgage market.

To read the complete story visit CUNA News Now

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Data protection, QM concerns lead CFPB hearing

Consumer data protection and qualified mortgage regulations were two main themes of Tuesday's House Financial Services Committee hearing on the progress of the CFPB.

CFPB Director Richard Cordray also delivered his semi-annual report on agency activities during the hearin andfielded questions on some of the major rules coming down the pike, including:

  • Rules addressing credit ratings for small business owners
  • Prepaid card regulations
  • Overdraft protection rules
Committee members raised concerns regarding the security of consumer data that is collected by the CFPB, the agency's collection of that data, and the ability of the bureau to reverse-engineer that data to tie it to a particular consumer. Cordray was adamant that the CFPB aggregates the data and has no reason to reverse engineer the information.

The CUNA has supported the Consumer Right to Financial Privacy Act (H.R. 2571), which would prohibit the CFPB from requesting, accessing, collecting, using, retaining or disclosing nonpublic personal information about a consumer unless proper disclosures are provided to the consumer, and H.R. 3183, which would require the CFPB to provide, at a consumer's request, one free annual report disclosing all of the information about the consumer held by the CFPB.

Regarding QM rules, several legislators said they are concerned by the rigid nature of the regulations. Rep. Bill Huzienga (R-MI) spoke on points-and-fees issues created by the regulation, noting that nearly 60 percent of loans under $60,000 would not qualify as QMs if an affiliate's title policy was included on the CFPB's points-and-fees calculation. Current CFPB regulations dictate that for a mortgage to be considered a "qualified mortgage," total points and fees generally may not exceed 3 percent on a loan of $100,000 or greater. These fees include affiliate and non-affiliate charges such as title insurance, surveys, appraisal fees, underwriting, processing and application fees. Rep. Huizenga has introduced legislation to change the overly restrictive definition of points and fees, which CUNA supports.

Visit CUNA News Now for the full story.

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LEVERAGE gives clarity to liquidity and contingency funding plans

LEVERAGE strives to bring you partners and solutions that help your credit union improve performance. Additionally, LEVERAGE focuses on solutions that address safety and soundness, especially in light of the ever increasing regulations that impact your operations.

In the fourth quarter of 2013, the NCUA issued guidance on liquidity and contingency funding plans. LEVERAGE has worked with Vining Sparks to provide clarity on this issue, and to provide a template that addresses the focus of this new guidance. The article linked here contains information on the NCUA-issued guidance, along with contact information to access the templates available to assist you in complying with this guidance. 

For more information contact a LEVERAGE business development consultant

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Financial Fitness Day is April 2

The Southeastern Credit Union Foundation (SECUF) has been working with the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) on “Financial Fitness Day” - a fundraising and awareness campaign taking place April 2. Kicking off National Financial Literacy Month, Financial Fitness Day is dedicated to helping members get their financial health in shape.

It is easy to participate! Just hold one (or more) of the following at your credit union organization on Financial Fitness Day - April 2:

  • Jeans or Casual Day for staff
  • Bake Sale for staff and/or members
  • Deduct or Donate a Buck - Ask staff and/or members to consider a voluntary contribution of $1 or more either in cash as they complete their transaction and/or deducting from their checking or saving account as often as they choose.

By participating, you will be raising funds for NCUF and SECUF in support of their critical financial education initiatives, raising awareness of credit unions’ financial education activities and the importance of financial education.  

All donations from credit unions for this campaign will be split 50/50 between NCUF and SECUF in support of their financial education initiatives to help consumers of all ages achieve financial freedom.

For more information and a variety of downloadable resources to get involved click here. Contact Leonard Parkhurst with additional questions.

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In This Issue
Thursday Edition
State of the Union speaks of tax changes, jobs, and housing finance reforms
Data protection, QM concerns lead CFPB hearing
LEVERAGE gives clarity to liquidity and contingency funding plans
Financial Fitness Day is April 2
LSCU & Affiliates Media


President's Quarterly Report
LSCU & Affiliates President/CEO Patrick La Pine looks at the League's activities for the fourth quarter which includes an office move in Tallahassee, a new LEVERAGE hire and an update on tax reform.

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