Reg Relief Gets A SenateTrimming

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WASHINGTON - (05/03/06) – The Senate Banking Committee isexpected to vote Thursday on a regulatory relief bill for creditunions and banks that is dramatically cut back from a versionpassed by the House in March. The bill focuses on four major itemsfor each interest group, down from the 15 credit union provisionsin the House's bill, and ignores most of the major credit unionpriorities like enactment of a risk-based capital system; liftingthe cap on member business loans; retention of select groups afterconverting to community charter; and allowing privately insuredcredit unions to join the Federal Home Loan Bank System. The lastprovision is especially problematic because it is championed byHouse Financial Services Chairman Mike Oxley, who representsDublin, Ohio-based American Share Insurance, the only survivingprivate deposit insurer in the country. The bill does includeprovisions: allowing credit unions to serve non-members withintheir fields of membership; fixing the new rule on accounting formergers; extending the maturity limit on business loans; andmaintaining discount leases for credit unions on federal property.The bill would also require the Federal Reserve to pay creditunions and banks interest on so-called sterile reserves depositedwith the Fed, something credit unions and banks have been fightingfor for years. Brad Thaler, NAFCU’s congressional lobbyist,lamented the absence of many credit union priorities, but saidSenate leaders believe the trimmed-back version of the bill has thebest chance of passing the Senate. “Yes, we’redisappointed and we’d like to have seen more in the bill, butthere are significant provisions in there for credit unions,”he told The Credit Union Journal.

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