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Rep Plans To Press Plan To Strip NCUA Powers

WASHINGTON-Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), said last week he won't back off his efforts to strip NCUA of some of its powers over credit union conversions to banks, even though NCUA agreed to drop its objections to the two giant Texas conversions. McHenry said he expects Congress to hold a hearing on his bill in the next two months. "This (NCUA settlement of the controversial lawsuit) shows the need we have for real laws to substitute NCUA's administration," McHenry told The Credit Union Journal.

He said his bill will protect the consumer and give a more formal framework to the conversion process. McHenry is one of a half-dozen outspoken critics of NCUA's actions in the Community CU and OmniAmerican CU cases, referring to the agency's rejection of the conversion voting as "re-freaking-diculous."

NCUA agreed last week to lift its objections to the balloting at the two billion-dollar credit unions and to approve the precedent-setting charter switches.

Pentagon CU Aids Veterans

WASHINGTON-More than 400 elderly veterans from Gulfport, Miss., are getting acclimated at a new home in the nation's Capitol, where they were transported after last week's hurricane, thanks to assistance from Pentagon FCU. The Pentagon FCU Foundation is buying refrigerators, wheelchairs and clothing for the elderly veterans, who were moved to the Soldiers and Sailors Home in Washington, D.C.

The nation's fourth-largest credit union is working to raise $60,000 through its charitable arm to finance the post-hurricane assistance, according to Margot Szeliga, spokesman for the credit union. The credit union, which ran a national ad with Navy FCU in USA Today last Friday offering assistance to affected areas, has also taken a number of steps to ease the financial burden on members in the three affected states.

They are: extended payment schedules; low interest emergency loans; waiving prepayment penalties on early withdrawals of CDs; refinancing of car and home loans at 100% loan-to-value ratio; and allowing affected members to skip a payment on loans.

3 Dubuque CUs To Share Facility

DUBUQUE, Iowa-Three small credit unions are now operating out of the same building here. The three, Alliant Credit Union, Dubuque Teachers Credit Union and Health Services Credit Union, joined to finance and build their joint home, they call the CU Link.

Though housed together, each credit union occupies a separate suite in the building. Each offers drive-up teller lanes, safe deposit boxes, surcharge-free drive-up depository ATM, and more.

"We are small credit unions and Dubuque is a highly competitive market for financial services. I could see that we needed to have a west side location, but it was not feasible to proceed independently," said Joe Gonzalez, president of Health Services CU.

The Credit Union Journal's On Deadline coverage is sponsored by Liberty. For info: www.libertysite.com.

Journal Readers Volunteer!

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.-Several dozen Credit Union Journal readers have volunteered their time and talents to assist CUs affected by Hurricane Katrina. The Journal announced Sept. 5 it was forming a database of volunteers, and almost immediately, credit union leaders and vendors stepped forward. To volunteer, e-mail fdiekmann cujournal.com. Note that officials with the affected state leagues have asked potential volunteers to register with such databases first and not to travel to affected areas.

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