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Cal. Senate OKs Bill To Create Low-Income SCU

SACRAMENTO, Calif.-The state Senate Banking Committee approved a bill last week that will create a low-income designation for state-chartered credit unions and allow those credit unions to serve non-members within their fields of membership (FOM). The bill now goes to the Senate's Appropriation Committee, where it is expected to be reviewed in the next few weeks. "The vote in the Appropriations Committee must take place by May 30," John Van Etten, lobbyist for the California CU league, told The Credit Union Journal. "We are optimistic that it will get passed, but given the state's budget shrotfall, there is concern over every little cost, and there will be some cost."

Soldiers & Sailors Gets Update In Congress

WASHINGTON-The House voted unanimously last week to amend the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act to clarify that lenders must forgive all interest over 6% during active duty and provide new protections on foreclosures and evictions during fighting. The proposal, which would also change the name of the 62-year-old law to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, would extend protections on eviction, court orders and other financial obligations during active duty. The measure now goes to the Senate.

Military Gets Easing Of Forebearance Process

WASINGTON-Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac said last week they have initiated steps to ease the forbearance process for borrowers called to active military duty. The two secondary mortgage giants said they will require of all lender partners that they merely accept a borrower's active military orders in order to activate the 6% cap on all mortgage loans; and will ask that lenders not notify credit bureaus of forbearance requests so that the borrowers credit ratings are not adversely affected. "Our goal is that no one should lose their home, or worry about losing their home, or worry about their credit report simply by serving in the U.S. military," said Leland Brendsel, chief executive of Freddie Mac, during a news conference. Representatives of both Navy FCU and Pentagon FCU, two of the biggest mortgage lenders to military personnel, were on hand for the announcement.

Texas CU Modernization Passed

AUSTIN, Texas-The Senate's Business and Commerce Committee unanimously approved the CU Modernization Bill Tuesday, sending the measure on for a vote by the full Senate. The measure, which has already passed the House, would amend the state's credit union statute by allowing credit unions to offer alternative capital, provide services to non-members within a field of membership (FOM), and provide parity for out-of-state credit unions operating in Texas. It would also update allowances for electronic voting and expelling members; and require quarterly call reports for all credit unions.

CU OKd TO Convert To Bank

BOSTON-The Massachusetts Banking Department said it will appeal a court ruling freeing up Postal Community CU to convert to a mutual savings bank. "We have filed a notice of appeal," Steve Antonakis, spokesman for the state regulator, told The Credit Union Journal. The state supervisor had tried to block the conversion by the $140-million credit union by imposing an unprecedented order preventing credit union officials from even discussing the move. But the Suffolk County Superior Court ruled in February that the banking commissioner exceeded his authority in issuing the stringent order.

Assailants Tie Up Tellers

CINCINNATI-Two armed assailants tied up tellers at Greater Cincinnati CU in nearby Oakley Monday morning, then stole one of the teller's cars to make their getaway. The getaway car was found abandoned a few blocks away. The robbery occurred around 8:30 am, just after opening when two masked men brandishing handguns entered through the back door and demanded cash from the tellers' drawers and vault. The robbers made off with an undisclosed amount of cash.

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