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Proposed Rule

Purchase, Sale, and Pledge of Eligible Obligations

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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:

Proposed rule.

SUMMARY:

NCUA proposes to amend its rule governing the purchase, sale, and pledge of eligible obligations, as a result of recommendations from its annual regulatory review process, by adding a conflict of interest provision substantially similar to the conflict of interest provision in NCUA's general lending rule. This addition is intended to help ensure that a federal credit union's (FCU) decisions regarding the purchase, sale, and pledge of eligible obligations are made with the FCU's best interests in mind.

DATES:

Comments must be received on or before August 27, 2007.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments by any of the following methods (Please send comments by one method only):

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
  • NCUA Web Site: http://www.ncua.gov/​RegulationsOpinionsLaws/​proposed_​regs/​proposed_​regs.html. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
  • E-mail: Address to regcomments@ncua.gov. Include “[Your Start Printed Page 35208name] Comments on Proposed Rule 701, Eligible Obligations” in the e-mail subject line.
  • Fax: (703) 518-6319. Use the subject line described above for e-mail.
  • Mail: Address to Mary Rupp, Secretary of the Board, National Credit Union Administration, 1775 Duke Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314-3428.
  • Hand Delivery/Courier: Same as mail address.

Public Inspection: All public comments are available on the agency's website at http://www.ncua.gov/​RegulationsOpinionsLaws/​comments as submitted, except as may not be possible for technical reasons. Public comments will not be edited to remove any identifying or contact information. Paper copies of comments may be inspected in NCUA's law library at 1775 Duke Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314, by appointment weekdays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. To make an appointment, call (703) 518-6546 or send an e-mail to OGCMail@ncua.gov.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Annette Tapia or Frank Kressman, Staff Attorneys, Office of General Counsel, at the above address or telephone (703) 518-6540.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

A. Background

The NCUA continually reviews its regulations to “update, clarify and simplify existing regulations and eliminate redundant and unnecessary provisions.” NCUA Interpretive Rulings and Policy Statement (IRPS) 87-2, Developing and Reviewing Government Regulations. Under IRPS 87-2, NCUA conducts a rolling review of one-third of its regulations each year, involving both internal review and public comment. NCUA's 2006 review produced a recommendation to include a conflict of interest provision in the eligible obligations rule similar to the one in NCUA's general lending rule. 12 CFR 701.21(c)(8), 12 CFR 701.23.

B. Discussion

Generally, the eligible obligations rule implements the statutory provisions limiting the purchase, sale, and pledging of an eligible obligation, which is defined by the Board as a loan or group of loans. 12 U.S.C. 1757(13); 12 CFR 701.23. Subject to certain exceptions, the rule provides that an FCU may purchase its members' eligible obligations (i.e., loans made to a member by another lender) from any source as long as the loans are ones the FCU is empowered to grant, up to an amount equal to 5% of its unimpaired capital and surplus. 12 CFR 701.23(b)(1). Exceptions in the rule include purchasing nonmember student and real estate secured loans for purposes of completing a loan pool for sale on the secondary market. In addition, loans purchased to complete a pool and loans purchased as part of an indirect lending or indirect leasing program are exempt from the 5% limit on eligible obligations.

The Board believes eligible obligation transactions, which involve the buying and selling of member loans, potentially present the same kinds of conflicts of interest as where an FCU is the original lender to its member. For that reason, the Board proposes to add a conflict of interest provision to the eligible obligations rule that is similar to the conflict provision in NCUA's general lending regulation. 12 CFR 701.21(c)(8)(i). The proposal would generally provide that an official, employee, or their immediate family members may not receive, directly or indirectly, any commission, fee or other compensation in connection with an eligible obligations transaction. The proposal would help ensure FCUs make decisions concerning the purchase and sale of eligible obligations based on appropriate business considerations rather than any personal benefit to insiders.

C. Regulatory Procedures

Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires NCUA to prepare an analysis to describe any significant economic impact a proposed rule may have on a substantial number of small entities (primarily those under ten million dollars in assets). This rule only includes a conflict of interest provision that entails no greater regulatory burden. Accordingly, this proposed rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small credit unions, and therefore, no regulatory flexibility analysis is required.

Paperwork Reduction Act

NCUA has determined that this rule will 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 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 proposed rule would not have a 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 proposed rule does not constitute a policy that has federalism implications for purposes of the executive order.

The Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 1999—Assessment of Federal Regulations and Policies on Families

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

Agency Regulatory Goal

NCUA's goal is to promulgate clear and understandable regulations that impose minimal regulatory burden. We request your comments on whether the proposed rule is understandable and minimally intrusive if implemented as proposed.

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List of Subjects in 12 CFR Part 701

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By the National Credit Union Administration Board on June 21, 2007.

Mary Rupp,

Secretary of the Board.

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For the reasons discussed above, NCUA proposes to amend 12 CFR part 701 as follows:

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PART 701—ORGANIZATION AND OPERATIONS OF FEDERAL CREDIT UNIONS

1. The authority citation for part 701 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 12 U.S.C. 1752(5), 1755, 1756, 1757, 1759, 1761a, 1761b, 1766, 1767, 1782, 1784, 1787, and 1789. Section 701.6 is also authorized by 31 U.S.C. 3717. Section 701.31 is also authorized by 15 U.S.C. 1601 et seq., 42 U.S.C. 1861 and 42 U.S.C. 3601-3610. Section 701.35 is also authorized by 42 U.S.C. 4311-4312.

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2. Section 701.23 is amended by adding new paragraph (g) to read as follows:

Purchase, sale, and pledge of eligible obligations.
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(g) (1) Conflicts of interest. No federal credit union official, employee, or their Start Printed Page 35209immediate family member may receive, directly or indirectly, any compensation in connection with that credit union's purchase, sale, or pledge of an eligible obligation under the provisions of § 701.23.

(2) Permissible payments. This section does not prohibit:

(i) A federal credit union's payment of salary to employees;

(ii) A federal credit union's payment of an incentive or bonus to an employee based on the credit union's overall financial performance;

(iii) A federal credit union's payment of an incentive or bonus to an employee, other than a senior management employee, in connection with that credit union's purchase, sale or pledge of an eligible obligation. This payment is permissible if the board of directors establishes a written policy and internal controls for the incentive or bonus program and monitors compliance with the policy and controls at least annually; and

(iv) Payment by a person other than the federal credit union of compensation to a volunteer official, non-senior management employee, or their immediate family member, for a service or activity performed outside the credit union provided that the federal credit union, the official, employee, or their immediate family member has not made a referral.

(3) Business associates and family members. All transactions under this section with business associates or family members not specifically prohibited by paragraph (g)(1) of this section must be conducted at arm's length and in the interest of the federal credit union.

(4) Definitions. The definitions in § 701.21(c)(8)(ii) of this part apply to this section.

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[FR Doc. E7-12378 Filed 6-26-07; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 7535-01-P \