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July 22, 1998
The Administration strongly supports Senate passage of H.R. 1151, as
approved by the Senate Banking Committee, without extraneous or
controversial amendments. The full Senate should reject amendments
rejected at the Banking Committee mark-up, such as the amendment that would
substantially weaken the Community Reinvestment Act by exempting certain
banks from the Act's requirements. If H.R. 1151 were presented to the
President with such an amendment, the Secretary of the Treasury would
recommend that the President veto the bill.
The Senate Banking Committee version reflects a careful balancing of important goals: (1) protecting existing credit union members and membership groups; (2) removing uncertainty created by the Supreme Court's AT&T decision; (3) facilitating credit union expansion beyond core membership groups in appropriate circumstances, such as when necessary to meet the needs of underserved areas; (4) reforming credit union safety and soundness safeguards, by instituting capital standards and a risk-based capital requirement, as well as further strengthening the Share Insurance Fund; and (5) reaffirming and reinforcing credit unions' mission of serving persons of modest means. The Administration strongly opposes any efforts to upset this balance by stripping the bill of any of these important provisions.
Specifically, Section 204 would require periodic review of each Federally-insured credit union's record of meeting the needs of such persons within its membership. This requirement is flexible, tailored to credit unions, and will impose no unreasonable burden. It rests on the Congressionally mandated mission of credit unions and on the benefits of Federal deposit insurance. Inclusion of Section 204 is particularly important to keeping credit unions focused on their public mission in view of how the bill liberalizes the common bond requirement.
In addition, the Administration sees no safety and soundness basis for an amendment that would limit the ability of credit unions to make business loans to their members. Existing safeguards, coupled with the new capital and other reforms in the bill, are sufficient to protect against any safety and soundness risk from member business lending.
H.R. 1151 would affect direct spending and receipts; therefore it is subject to the pay-as-you-go requirements of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990. The Administration's preliminary estimate is that H.R. 1151 would have a net budget cost of zero.