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NCUA: 'States Can't Nix Rules'

ALEXANDRIA, Va.-NCUA said federally chartered credit unions need not comply with Wisconsin's new laws combating predatory lending because the Federal CU Act preempts state laws in this area. In a new legal opinion letter, NCUA told the Wisconsin CU League that the state law, passed in 2003, is preempted because it "purports to limit or affect the rates, terms of repayment and other conditions of loans and lines of credit that FCUs may offer to their members."

However, the preemption does not extend to CUSOs offering mortgage services, NCUA added. NCUA has issued similar letters preempting state laws in North Carolina, Georgia, Connecticut, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia, all aimed at combating predatory lending.

Members To Bid For CU's Cold Cash

LOS ANGELES-Ten members of Water and Power Community CU will be invited to make their way through 30-inch ice sculptures on Labor Day weekend to win cash prizes up to $2,000 embedded inside the ice.

The first contestant to melt their way through the frozen figurines, representing the credit union's loan products, will receive a cool $1,000 grand prize. The credit union will choose 10 contestants at random Aug. 24 to participate in the second annual ice-melting contest, to be held at the credit union's Northridge branch on Sept. 3.

Republicans Eye Texas-Size Gains

AUSTIN, Texas-One of the quietest delegations at last week's Democratic National Convention in Boston was the one from Texas, where Democrat's are expected to lose as many as half-dozen of their 16 House seats this fall, due to the Republican-controlled redistricting. Buddy Gill, political director for the Texas CU League, said he expects the Republicans to pick up seats because of the carefully-planned redistricting, but some Democratic incumbents could surprise the pundits by pulling out close races.

"There's going to be a net gain of Republican seats coming out of Texas, I just don't know how many," Gill said. Among the most closely watched races in the country are 13-term Democratic incumbent Martin Frost against four-term Republican Pete Sessions, in a district heavily weighted to Republicans; and 13-term Democrat Charles Stenholm against freshman Republican Randy Neugebauer. Also facing long odds are Democrats Chet Edwards, Max Sandlin and Nick Lampson.

The likelihood the Republicans will pick up as many as six seats in the Lone Star State makes it probable the GOP will retain control of the House in the next Congress.

Last-Ditch Bid To Save Seat

AUSTIN, Texas-Rep. Ciro Rodriguez asked a Texas Supreme Court last week to overturn his narrow, 58-vote, loss in the Democratic primary, based in allegations of vote tampering.

Rodriguez, elected seven years ago with heavy credit union support, appeared to win the March primary by 145 votes, but fell behind his challenger, former Texas Secretary of State Henry Cuellar, after a recount that uncovered more than 200 uncounted ballots. Rodriguez sued, claiming irregularities in the recount, but his charges were dismissed last month by the state's appeals court.

The Democratic nominee is almost assured of winning the congressional seat.

New York CU Giant To CO-Operate

NEW YORK-Municipal CU, one of the largest credit unions in the nation's financial headquarters, said it has joined the credit union-owned CO-OP Network.

The $1.1-billion credit union has signed a member-shareholder deal with the CO-OP which requires it to brand its own 90 ATMs with the CO-OP logo and add them to the network.

Woodstock, NFCDCU Team Up

CHICAGO-The Woodstock Institute, a community reinvestment think tank, said it has agreed to work with the National Federation of Community Development CUs to study credit unions' efforts to develop alternatives to payday loan programs.

The Federation recently received funding from JP Morgan Chase to fund pilot payday loan alternatives for several CDCUs.

The Woodstock Institute, which has studied credit unions' community investment programs in the past, will evaluate the programs' flexibility, underwriting, administration and encouragement of financial literacy and savings.

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