ON DEADLINE: Provision Added To Bill

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Members of the Senate Banking Committee have agreed to add at least one more credit union provision to a scaled-back version of the regulatory relief bill before they send the bill back to the House Financial Services Committee for its additions, according to sources on Capitol Hill.

The senators have apparently agreed to add the provision to allow more than 200 privately insured credit unions to join the Federal Home Loan Bank system, a priority of House Financial Services Chairman Michael Oxley of Ohio, but there appears to be little chance of other credit union priorities being added to the bill when it moves back to the House in this game of legislative "ping-pong."

But CUNA has also expressed its opposition to a bid to include a provision raising the business loan limits for thrifts, just as thrifts and banks are intensifying their lobbying to restrict business lending for credit unions.

CUNA President Dan Mica told Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby the credit union trade group will pull its support from the bill if they include the thrift measure. Dean Sagar, vice president of government affairs for CUNA, said the trade group believes it is unfair for the thrifts to get expanded business lending powers while they are also fighting the credit union efforts. "We told them, if you approve this then we'll oppose the bill," Sagar told The Credit Union Journal.

Meanwhile, NAFCU's Director of Legislative Affairs, Brad Thaler, said, "NAFCU continues to press for modification of the MBL cap for credit unions, as outlined in our testimony before both the House and Senate on Reg Relief, and as included in CURIA. We are in regular contact with House and Senate staff working on the Reg Relief bill and have shared our concerns with them. NAFCU believes that such a change for thrifts only widens the discrepancy in restrictions for credit unions, as compared to other financial institutions, in providing needed capital to their members to support their businesses and create jobs for the economy."

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