LSCU eSignal Weekly
LSCU eNews Weekly December 5, 2011
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LSCU eNews Weekly
In This Issue
President's Point
Senate hears bank bills, credit union Action Alert issued
LSCU Top Headlines
This week's top League headlines
Governmental Affairs News
This week in Alabama politics: Drake wins House seat, GOP courts Dems, schools may avoid proration
This week in Florida politics: Last of Interim Committee Weeks, Senate redistricting maps unveiled
News from the Hill: House, Senate back in session with adjournment nearing, unfinished business
2012 LSCU State GAC in Florida approaching quickly
Compliance Corner
League InfoSight highlight: ACH: Audit Deadline
Compliance calendar and training
Cooperative Initiatives News
NCUF Financial Education Report coming soon
Enter to win two tickets to Wegner Awards Dinner from NCUF, CUinsight
Education News
Education Calendar
LEVERAGE News
CMG MI Comments on Chapter 11 filing by The PMI Group, Inc.
News from You
Pen Air FCU recognized as Top Company Team for breast cancer walk
Community Credit Union re-opens Rainsville branch
EMPLOYMENT
View available credit union jobs
In This Issue
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President's Point

Senate hears bank bills, credit union Action Alert issued

A couple of weeks ago I talked about CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney getting a chance to testify before the House Financial Services Committee on a community banker’s bill, H.R. 1697. The bill would give regulatory relief to the banks while easing some restrictions for shareholders of Subchapter S banks. This past week the Senate held hearings on S. 556 and S. 1791; two more bills for community bankers and Subchapter S banks. This time there were no credit union witnesses, but CUNA did submit a letter to Senate Banking Committee Chair Tim Johnson and Ranking Committee Member Richard Shelby of Alabama.

The hearing could best be characterized as a lovefest for community banks. Sen. Kay Hutchison (R-TX) spoke on her bill, saying that it would raise the security registration threshold for Subchapter S banks and it will help community banks with regulatory burden. She cited that the regulatory burden for community banks averages $250,000 per year and almost $80 million total. The banks think that easing the regulatory burden would transform this $80 million into $800 million in small business lending. This is interesting considering many of these same banks took part in Congress’ $30 billion loan guarantees, only to use part of it to repay TARP money.  

Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR), a co-sponsor of S. 556, also spoke at the hearing saying that community banks are highly regulated, and struggle to raise capital due to burdens placed on them by Dodd-Frank, Basel III and FDIC stress tests. He also said community banks are looking for capital and want to lend, and this legislation is designed to help them. Sen. Hutchison said community banks and small businesses are the backbone of our economy and cited letters from various banking associations. To the community bankers credit, they have done a good job separating themselves from the large “Wall Street” banks and have been able to convince Congress that, if they just had a little bit more regulatory relief, they would start lending more. Maybe we should start taking a page from their playbook?

I write about this again to show you the political environment we are dealing with in Washington. We are having to fight a major uphill battle to just get our issues heard, let alone passed. Unlike the banks, we aren’t necessarily fighting their issues, as much as telling Congress that if they are going to provide relief to banks, they also need to include something of significant for credit unions. I have urged CUNA to start opposing banker bills until Congress starts taking the credit union legislative agenda seriously. That is what the LSCU will start doing.  We have made some strides in getting our voice heard on the issue. However, we’ve allowed the bank lobby to define us for far too long. We initiated an Action Alert on member business lending last week. I strongly urge you to take part. Ask your staff, your directors and your members to send an email. If Congress is willing to stand with the bankers, they need to hear from us that it’s unacceptable to taxpayers to not raise the MBL cap, something that will help the economy and not cost taxpayers a dime.

I welcome your thoughts and feedback.

  [ Return to Top ]

LSCU Top Headlines
This week's top League headlines

LSCU re-affiliation ahead of last year's schedule
The League sent its dues packet to credit unions in mid November. Many credit unions have taken advantage of the automatic dues payment system. The program streamlines the accounting processes for your credit union, and ensures that your LSCU membership continues without interruption. Credit unions need to sign up for the program by Dec. 23, 2011 to be eligible for a Kindle Fire courtesy of the LSCU Service Corporation (LEVERAGE). Check out the LSCU Membership Relations page for more on how the LSCU delivered for credit unions. The page includes a testimonial video and "The Power of Cooperation" brochure. 

Bank customers being charged fees to leave
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that some bank customers are finding it difficult to withdraw their money to move to a credit union. Two people are cited in the article. One was charged $8 to have their money in the form of a cashier's check, while the other was told he had to talk to a personal banker before being able to leave. Click here to read the full story. 

NCUA sues Wachovia Securities over corporate CU losses
Saying that it failed to disclose the risks to two now-defunct corporate credit unions, the NCUA on Nov. 29 filed suit against the company formerly known as Wachovia Securities. Read the full story by clicking here.

NEW: LSCU Audio Podcast with Tropical Financial's Amy McGraw
The League recently interviewed Tropical Financial Credit Union VP, Marketing Amy McGraw about the significance of marketing and communications within credit unions, the effects of the Nov. 5 'Bank Transfer Day', and more. To listen to the most recent LSCU Audio Podcast with Amy McGraw, click here.

CUNA Regulatory Advocacy Report
This week's report covers TDR clarifications with the NCUA, CFPB's request for comment on the agency's public disclosure of data regarding credit card complaints from consumers of banks and credit unions, a BSA and payments fraud update, and more. To read the most recent CUNA Regulatory and Advocacy Report, click here.

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Governmental Affairs News
This week in Alabama politics: Drake wins House seat, GOP courts Dems, schools may avoid proration

Drake Wins House District 45 Special Election
On Tuesday, Dickie Drake, Leeds businessman and brother to the late Rep. Owen Drake (R), won the special election to represent House District 45. The seat had been vacant since the death of Rep. Owen Drake who lost his battle with cancer shortly after being elected to a second term.  Unofficial results showed Dickie Drake, a Republican, defeated Democrat Paige Parnell 56 percent to 44 percent.

GOP Courts Democrats, Democratic Party Promises Good Candidates
Over the last year, 49 officials elected as Democrats have switched to the Republican Party and party officials would like to see that number rise in 2012. Chairman Bill Armistead offered a standing invitation to any and all conservative Democrats to join the GOP, assuming their views on the issues are in-line with the Republican Party. He did warn Democrats wanting to switch just to ensure a victory in the upcoming election, “This is not the invitation for you.”

Meanwhile, the Alabama State Democratic Party opened qualifying, and Chairman Mark Kennedy urged members to revitalize the party. Currently, Democrats only hold one statewide office, Public Service Commission President Lucy Baxley, and Kennedy vows that good candidates will be put on the ballot for 2012.

Alabama Schools May Avoid Proration
Montgomery lawmakers said that the Education Trust Fund should be able to collect enough tax dollars this fiscal year to avoid proration in Alabama’s public schools. Collections for the trust fund increased five percent for October and November compared to the same time period from 2011. State income tax and sales tax fuel the fund and those tend to follow economic growth. If the dollars collected meet budgeted expenditures this fiscal year, it will be the first time since 2007 and will be a positive sign heading into the future.

For questions regarding legislative affairs issues in Alabama, contact LSCU Director, Legislative Affairs Jason Cochran at 866.231.0545, ext. 2159. [ Return to Top ]

This week in Florida politics: Last of Interim Committee Weeks, Senate redistricting maps unveiled

Florida Politics Week in Review

With the last of the Interim Legislative Committee weeks starting today, the LSCU Governmental Affairs (GA) team will be hard at work meeting with legislators to help advocate on behalf of credit unions in the Southeast. The League’s top legislative priority, obtaining the ability of credit unions to serve as public depositories has a bill filed in both chambers. The House version, HB 669 by Rep. Jason Brodeur (R-Sanford) was referred last week to two committees, the Insurance and Banking subcommittee and the Economic Affairs Committee. The Senate version of the bill, SB 936 by Sen. Chris Smith (D-Ft. Lauderdale), is expected to be referred to its committees soon. All indications are the House bill will be heard early in the 2012 Legislative Session and the Senate bill will follow shortly after. As the Session gets closer, the League will be calling on grassroots advocates to contact members of the committees in which the bills will be heard. In the interim, please feel free to email both Sen. Smith and Rep. Brodeur by clicking their names above. The 60-day 2012 Legislative Session begins on Jan. 10 and is scheduled to run through March 9.

PAC Fundraising
The year is quickly coming to an end, and Political Action Committee (PAC) fundraising remains a priority for the League. LSCU Grassroots and Political Action Coordinator Andy Gonzalez has spent a lot of time on the road meeting with credit unions to discuss the importance of political giving, and to help credit unions and chapters reach their goals. The League is getting closer to its CUPAC goal of $250,000 for the year; however, it's just halfway to its FEDPAC goal of $125,000. It is recommended not to wait until the last minute to send your CUPAC and FEDPAC contributions in. Politics is a year-round process and the LSCU needs your support in order to be part of that process.

If you have any questions about the online VOCUS Action Center, grassroots activities, or PAC fundraising, contact LSCU Grassroots and Political Action Coordinator Andy Gonzalez at 866.231.0545, ext. 1010.

Senate Redistricting Maps Unveiled
The Florida Senate last week released proposal on redistricting that would increase the number of senators representing Hispanic majorities, while holding constant the number of seats in which minorities constitute the majority of the voting population. Now the debate will shift to whether the maps drawn comply with the fair district amendments passed last year to the Florida Constitution, Amendments 5 and 6. These amendments bar maps from being drawn to benefit either political party or incumbents, and call for compact districts where feasible. To view the State Senate and Congressional district maps submitted by the Senate, click here.

To read the complete Florida Politics Week in Review including information on LSCU grassroots advocacy, click here

Should you have any questions on any of the legislative issues mentioned in the Florida Politics Week in Review contact LSCU Director, Legislative Affairs Jared Ross at 866.231.0545 ext.1012. [ Return to Top ]

News from the Hill: House, Senate back in session with adjournment nearing, unfinished business

Appropriations, tax extenders, and the “doc fix” top the list of unfinished businesses that keeps Congress in D.C. Both chambers have set target adjournment dates of Dec. 16, but that is not written in stone.

As the year begins to wind down, the League and CUNA continue to press their Congressional delegations on issues, especially Member Business Lending (MBL) and the need to provide credit unions with greater ability to serve members. League staff continues to reach out to lawmakers by phone, and League staff will be holding face-to-face meetings with a number of their Congressional members next week.

Floor Schedule
The House comes back today and will consider bills under suspension of the rules; however, no votes are expected in the House today. On Tuesday, the House will consider additional bills under suspension of the rules. On Wednesday, the House will consider H.R. 10, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act. The House is also expected to consider H.R. 1633, the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act.

The Senate comes back today and will consider judicial nominations. After that, the schedule is not crystal clear. There is expectation that the Senate will resume consideration of the Energy and Water Appropriations bill. There has also been speculation that the Senate will consider the nomination of Richard Cordray to be Director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, possibly on Thursday.

To read the complete News from the Hill Update including the week's complete committee schedule, click here.

For questions regarding this News from the Hill update, contact LSCU SVP, Governmental Affairs Will McCarty at 866.231.0545, ext. 2137. [ Return to Top ]

2012 LSCU State GAC in Florida approaching quickly

Join credit union leaders, lawmakers, regulators, and other political leaders from across Florida for the 2012 State Governmental Affairs Conference Jan. 24-25, 2012, in Tallahassee, Florida. Plan to attend this event to learn more about the important issues facing credit unions in Tallahassee and Washington.

"The State GAC provides me an opportunity to stay informed first hand about current legislative issues, meet with our legislators, and interact with regulators," said Mary Ott Wood, president/CEO, Florida West Coast Credit Union. "The best use of my time is spent building relationships with our legislators which occurs at the State GAC."

This year’s event promises to be a valuable opportunity for credit union CEOs, executive staff, and board members who want to know more about, and influence, the legislative and regulatory environment that is so important for credit unions.

Speakers and guests include:

  • John McKechnie, Senior Vice President, Total Spectrum 
  • Herb Yolles, Region III Director, NCUA
  • John Sebree and John Rothell, Florida Association of Realtors
  • Linda Charity, Director, Florida Office of Financial Regulation
  • Bruce Ricca, Credit Union Bureau Chief, Florida Office of Financial Regulation

For more information on the 2012 State GAC in Florida click here. To see the full agenda, click here. [ Return to Top ]

Compliance Corner
League InfoSight highlight: ACH: Audit Deadline

The current edition of the League InfoSight newsletter covers recently posted information on the NACHA website that discusses a change to rules to extend the deadline for completion of the annual Rules compliance audit from Dec. 1 to Dec. 31.

This deadline change is welcome news as your credit union now has extra time to complete the audit.

With that extra time you may want to take a few minutes to review the ACH/Electronic Payments channel on InfoSight. For example, how much do you know about Electronic Transfer Accounts (ETAs)? The ETA topic provides the information your credit union needs to remain in compliance, including:

  • What credit unions should know about ETAs—especially which attributes the Treasury requires all ETAs to have
  • What credit unions should take into consideration if they are contemplating offering ETAs

To read more, visit the latest edition of League InfoSight.

For more helpful reminders and tips, view the League InfoSight newsletter by clicking here. It is a password-protected area. Member credit unions that do not have a password, may click here to sign up for one. An active email account and a password are required. To log in to InfoSight, enter your email and password in the InfoSight login block (see graphic below) located in the upper right of any of the LSCU web pages.

  [ Return to Top ]

Compliance calendar and training

December 2011

      For the complete list of calendar dates and compliance trainings, visit the LSCU Compliance Calendar

      *Note: To view InfoSight content, it is required to log in to www.lscu.coop for access.

      [ Return to Top ]

      Cooperative Initiatives News
      NCUF Financial Education Report coming soon

      The NCUF Financial Education Reports discuss how both states are working with their credit unions to make financial education a priority, and some of the programs taking shape in their geographical areas.

      In order to address the present economic turmoil, Southeast credit unions have focused on helping low-wage working families with mortgage work-out options and debt management plans. With payment deferment, refinancing, modifications, repayment plans and building solid budgets, our states credit unions’ are helping members regain their financial footing and build stronger future.

      In Alabama, more than 1.7 million credit union members have saved more than $182 million by being credit unions members and learning how to be thrifty with their income. In Florida, more than 4.5 million credit union members have saved more than $297 million. Both states have dedicated themselves and their resources to providing one-on-one member financial education, monthly seminars, viral financial-focused web videos, and experimental learning opportunities to educate students by creating "real world" education experiences through the Junior Achievement BizTown Programs.

      "The methodology of our League, Foundation, and credit unions is not to look at financial education as an inoculation, but rather to create a lifetime of protection by covering all aspects of financial decision-making from all age groups and making sure each core competency is understood," said Southeastern Credit Union Foundation Executive Director Amber R. Tynan. "Between our two states, we have more than 19 in-school branches to help teach youth and young adults the value of savings and to promote financial planning for the future."

      To get a sneak peek at the NCUF reports click Florida and Alabama.  [ Return to Top ]

      Enter to win two tickets to Wegner Awards Dinner from NCUF, CUinsight

      The National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) and CUinsight have launched a special two-week promotion to give away a pair of tickets to the National Credit Union Foundation Dinner Presenting the Herb Wegner Memorial Awards.

      The National Credit Union Foundation Dinner Presenting the Herb Wegner Memorial Awards will take place on March 19 at the Grand Hyatt Washington during the Credit Union National Association’s 2012 Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC).

      Individuals from credit union organizations can enter the contest by clicking here, from Monday, Dec. 5 to Friday, Dec. 16, 2011. Full contest rules are posted on the entry page. The winner of the two tickets will be chosen by a random drawing after the contest ends on Dec. 16.

      “This is the first time that we’ve done a contest for dinner tickets,” said NCUF Director of Communications Christopher Morris. “It’s such an inspiring event and this gives a few more people a chance to attend.”

      Individual tickets for the three-course dinner are priced at $275 each. Tables of 10 are priced at $2,750. More information on the dinner and ticket information can be found by clicking here.

      [ Return to Top ]

      Education News
      Education Calendar

      Upcoming Events:

      Tuesday, Dec. 6
      Identifying Problem Loans
      3 to 4:30 p.m. EST - Webinar

      Wednesday, Dec. 7
      Auditing for SAFE Act Compliance
      3 to 4:30 p.m. EST - Webinar

      Thursday, Dec. 8
      Critical IRA Year-End Issues
      3 to 4 p.m. EST - Webinar

      To view the 2012 LSCU Education Calendar of Events, click here.

      [ Return to Top ]

      LEVERAGE News
      CMG MI Comments on Chapter 11 filing by The PMI Group, Inc.

      CMG Mortgage Insurance Company executive leadership said recently the company’s operations remain strong, and the company’s focus on credit unions’ mortgage insurance needs is unaffected by the Nov. 23, announcement that The PMI Group, Inc. (TPG), had filed for Chapter 11 federal bankruptcy protection.

      PMI Mortgage Insurance Co. (PMI), a subsidiary of TPG, currently owns a 50 percent stake in CMG MI, the other 50 percent being owned by Madison, Wisconsin-based CUNA Mutual Group. As stated in earlier communications, CMG MI is a stand-alone, incorporated entity with its own capital and dedicated staffing from its shareholders.

      “The bankruptcy filing affects only the holding company for PMI,” said CMG MI Senior Vice President/General Manager Kim Shaul. “CMG Mortgage Insurance Company is a joint venture between the subsidiary and CUNA Mutual. The filing will have no impact on the day-to-day operations or claims-paying activities of CMG MI."

      Click here to read the key factors supporting CMG MI’s solid financial position. [ Return to Top ]

      News from You
      Pen Air FCU recognized as Top Company Team for breast cancer walk

      Pen Air FCU EVP/COO Carroll Scarborough and Compliance Officer Rose Ann Lewis hold the awards from the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.

      Pen Air Federal Credit Union was recently awarded a plaque for #1 Top Company Team for raising $24,500 for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk at the Walk Wrap Up Celebration. The walk gathered 12,000 people to Pensacola’s Cordova Mall to support friends, family, and loved ones who have suffered from breast cancer.

      Pen Air FCU's $24,500 raised was a major part of the $415,000 Making Strides has raised to date. Pen Air FCU Interim CEO, David Tuyo accepted the award for the credit union.

      “It was overwhelming to be a part of such an amazing cause. Pen Air is honored to take part in supporting Making Strides Against Breast Cancer,” said Tuyo. 

      Pen Air FCU also received a second award for their Pen Air Strider Team. Making Strides Against Breast Cancer has been a part of the America Cancer Society’s fund raising efforts since 1993.  Almost eight million walkers have helped raise more than $450 million to help fight breast cancer. [ Return to Top ]

      Community Credit Union re-opens Rainsville branch

      Seven months after a tornado destroyed its Rainsville, AL branch, Community Credit Union held a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the re-opening of the branch. Community had been using Pen Air FCU's mobile branch to provide services to members.

        [ Return to Top ]

      EMPLOYMENT
      View available credit union jobs

      To view the available jobs on the LSCU homepage, visit the LSCU CU Jobs Center. [ Return to Top ]

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