Reg Relief Only Half-Baked

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WASHINGTON - (05/05/06) -- The regulatory relief bill beingbaked by credit unions and banks for the past five years turned outto be only half a loaf, if that. The Senate Banking CommitteeThursday approved its version of the bill which was radically cutback from a version passed by the House in March, with just fourprovisions for credit unions, down from the 15 included in theHouse version. But even as the panel was voting the bill, Senateleadership was expressing no intention to move it to a vote by thefull Senate, apparently killing the package for this Congress. Thebill passed by the Senate panel included provisions which would:allow federally chartered credit unions to provide check cashingand wire transfers to non-members within their fields ofmembership; fix a new accounting rule to allow credit unions tocontinue 'pooling,' or aggregating their capital after merging;extend the maturity on member business loans from 12 years to 15years; and allow credit unions to retain their discounted leases onmilitary bases and other federal property. It does not include themajor credit union priorities in the House version of: allowingfederal credit unions to retain their select employee groups afterconverting to community charters; increasing the permissibleinvestments in CUSOs; allowing NCUA, instead of Congress, todetermine proper investments for credit unions; and allowingprivately insured credit unions to join the Federal Home Loan BankSystem. Neither the Senate or House version includes the top twocredit union priorities of enacting a risk-based capital system forcredit unions or increasing the current 12.25% of assets limit onmember business loans.

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