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Truth in Savings

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

ACTION:

Interim final rule; lifting mandatory compliance date.

SUMMARY:

On June 21, 2001, NCUA published an interim final rule with request for comments amending its regulation that implements the Truth in Savings Act (TISA). The rule established uniform standards for the electronic delivery of disclosures required by TISA. NCUA established October 1, 2001 as the mandatory compliance date for the rule. As a result of concerns raised by commenters, NCUA is considering revising the rule to provide additional flexibility. Accordingly, NCUA is lifting the mandatory compliance date. Once a permanent final rule is issued, NCUA will afford credit unions a reasonable period of time to comply with the rule.

DATE:

The mandatory compliance date of October 1, 2001 for the interim final rule published at 66 FR 33159 (June 21, 2001) is lifted.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Frank S. Kressman, Staff Attorney, at the above address or telephone: (703) 518-6540.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

A. Background

Part 707 of NCUA's regulations implements TISA. 12 CFR part 707. The purpose of part 707 and TISA is to assist members in making meaningful comparisons among accounts offered by credit unions and other financial institutions. Part 707 and TISA require, among other things, disclosure of yields, fees and other terms concerning share accounts to members at account opening, upon request, when changes in terms occur and in periodic statements. Start Printed Page 48207Many of these disclosures must be written.

In April 2001, The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Federal Reserve) issued an interim rule amending its Regulation DD, which implements TISA (April 2001 Interim Rule). 66 FR 17795 (April 4, 2001). That rule established uniform standards for the timing and electronic delivery of disclosures required by TISA and Regulation DD, and addressed electronic advertisements.

TISA requires NCUA to promulgate regulations substantially similar to those promulgated by the Federal Reserve within 90 days of the effective date of the Federal Reserve's rules. 12 U.S.C. 4311(b). In doing so, NCUA is to take into account the unique nature of credit unions and the limitations under which they may pay dividends on member accounts. In compliance with TISA, NCUA published an interim final rule with request for comments in June 2001 that is substantially similar to the Federal Reserve's April 2001 Interim Rule. 66 FR 33159 (June 21, 2001).

B. Lifting the Mandatory Compliance Date

In August 2001, the Federal Reserve issued an interim final rule that lifted the October 1, 2001 mandatory compliance date. This enables the Federal Reserve to address concerns noted by commenters regarding operational issues raised by the April 2001 Interim Rule. Accordingly, to fulfill our statutory obligation under TISA, the NCUA is also lifting the October 1, 2001 mandatory compliance date.

Credit unions may continue to provide electronic disclosures under their existing policies and practices if they comply with the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-Sign Act), as discussed more fully below, or they may follow the interim rule issued by NCUA in June 2001, until the NCUA issues a permanent rule.

C. Withdrawal of the 1999 Interim Rule Unaffected

The E-Sign Act was enacted in June 2000, to encourage the continued expansion of electronic commerce. It generally provides that electronic documents and signatures have the same validity as paper documents and handwritten signatures. It provides that consumer disclosures may be provided in electronic form only if the consumer affirmatively consents after receiving information specified in the statute. The consumer consent provisions in the E-Sign Act became effective October 1, 2000. In September 1999, before enactment of the E-Sign Act, the Federal Reserve issued an interim rule that also amended Regulation DD (September 1999 Interim Rule), but did not specify the manner or form of consumer's consent to electronic disclosures. 64 FR 49846 (September 14, 1999). With the issuance of the April 2001 Interim Rule, which sets forth the general rule that an institution subject to Regulation DD may provide disclosures electronically only if the institution complies with § 101(c) of the E-Sign Act, the Federal Reserve has withdrawn the September 1999 Interim Rule. The lifting of the October 1, 2001 mandatory compliance date has no effect on the withdrawal of the September 1999 Interim Rule.

Interim Final Rule

The NCUA Board is issuing this rule as an interim final rule because there is a strong public interest in having in place consumer oriented rules that are consistent with those recently promulgated by the Federal Reserve. Additionally, as discussed above, NCUA is statutorily required to issue rules substantively similar to those of the Federal Reserve within 90 days of the effective date of the Federal Reserve's rules. Accordingly, for good cause, the Board finds that, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B), notice and public procedures are impracticable, unnecessary, and contrary to the public interest; and, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the rule will be effective immediately and without 30 days advance notice of publication.

Regulatory Procedures

Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires NCUA to prepare an analysis to describe any significant economic impact agency rulemaking may have on a substantial number of small credit unions. For purposes of this analysis, credit unions under $1 million in assets are considered small credit unions.

This interim final rule provides credit unions with the flexibility of voluntarily using an optional and alternative method of delivering certain required disclosures. Credit unions are free to choose not to utilize this alternative. Credit unions that choose to use this alternative will likely realize a reduction in their costs of delivery as a result. The NCUA has determined and certifies that this interim final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small credit unions. Accordingly, the NCUA has determined that a Regulatory Flexibility Analysis is not required.

Paperwork Reduction Act

NCUA has determined that these amendments to part 707 do not increase paperwork requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 and regulations of the Office of Management and Budget.

Executive Order 13132

Executive Order 13132 encourages independent regulatory agencies to consider the impact of their regulatory actions on state and local interests. In adherence to fundamental federalism principles, NCUA, an independent regulatory agency as defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502(5), voluntarily complies with the executive order. This interim final rule applies to all federally-insured credit unions, but does not have substantial direct effect on the states, on the relationship between the national government and the states, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. NCUA has determined that this interim final rule does not constitute a policy that has federalism implications for purposes of the executive order.

Assessment of Federal Regulations and Policies on Families

NCUA has determined that this rule will not affect family well-being within the meaning of Section 654 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 1999, Pub. L. 105-277, 112 Stat. 2681 (1998).

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

The Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121) provides generally for congressional review of agency rules. A reporting requirement is triggered in instances where NCUA issues a final rule as defined by Section 551 of the Administrative Procedure Act. 5 U.S.C. 551. The Office of Management and Budget has determined that this rule is not a major rule for purposes of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996.

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List of Subjects in 12 CFR Part 707

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By the National Credit Union Administration Board on September 13, 2001.

Becky Baker,

Secretary of the Board.

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[FR Doc. 01-23288 Filed 9-18-01; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 7535-01-U