The congressional spotlight once again is turning toward credit unions.
The House Banking subcommittee on financial institutions supervision will meet some time this year to follow up a 1995 hearing that explored the industry's biggest failure ever, Capital Corporate Federal Credit Union.
"It is important for the subcommittee to continue its oversight and review of the overall status of the credit union industry," the panel's chairman, Rep. Marge Roukema, R-N.J., said in a release.
Since the hearing last February, Cap Corp has been merged into another institution and the National Credit Union Administration has clamped down on other corporate credit unions. Indeed, last month the regulator slapped its second-lowest performance rating on Western Corporate Federal Credit Union, San Dimas, Calif., the nation's largest corporate credit union.
But NCUA Chairman Norman E. D'Amours has not yet fulfilled the vow he made at the last hearing to approve new regulations governing corporates' investments and capital.
Proposals issued last year were yanked after overwhelming industry opposition. A new draft is expected later this month.
Bob Loftus, NCUA director of public and congressional affairs, said Congress probably would not fault the agency, given the complexity of the rules.
"We have been in regular conversation with the (subcommittee) staff," Mr. Loftus said. "They're fully aware of our work on the regulation and why it's taking as long as it has."
A member of the subcommittee staff agreed.
"It hasn't risen to the point of us being angry," the aide said, adding that the hearing would be held after the new proposal comes out.
Rep. Roukema also said she's considering whether to introduce legislation to strengthen federal oversight of federally insured, state- chartered credit unions - a move approved by the Senate Banking Committee last year.
"It's a good thing," said a Senate Banking Committee aide. "It is a very important issue."
The NCUA and the National Association of Federal Credit Unions agree that House action similar to the Senate's would be good. But the legislation is opposed by two trade groups - the Credit Union National Association and the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors.