New Strategies For Reg Relief Legislation

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Another bill expected to be introduced in the early days of the 109th Congress is the regulatory relief bill for credit unions, the CU Regulatory Improvement Act, better known as CURIA.

The credit union lobby in Washington had great momentum on the bill in the final days of the 108th Congress, collecting more than 70 co-sponsors in the House on a proposal to roll-back regulations in more than a dozen areas.

Of course, because Congress never planned to vote on the bill last year, the co-sponsoring of the bill posed little threat to lawmakers from their anti-credit union constituents, namely the bankers. It will be interesting to see how many of those co-sponsors sign on again this time.

The credit union lobby is working again on a dual track for regulatory relief: pushing the credit union-only CURIA measure and an omnibus regulatory relief bill for financial service providers.

The hope is if one gets stalled, they can convince Congress to pass their priorities on the other bill.

Credit union lobbyists said last week they are working to "tweak" the CURIA bill in some areas. One strategy that might be pursued would be to get a provision included that would allow the federal regulator, the National Credit Union Administration, to redefine the term "net worth" for credit unions to allow credit unions to continue aggregating, or "pooling" their capital after a merger.

New accounting rules will prevent them from doing so after January 2006.

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