CUNA Regulatory Comment Call

January 7, 2010

Establishment of Term Deposits at Federal Reserve Banks

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Please feel free to fax your responses to CUNA at (202) 638-7052, or e-mail them to Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Mary Dunn at mdunn@cuna.coop and to Regulatory Counsel Luke Martone at lmartone@cuna.coop. You may also contact us at (800) 356-9655, ext. 6743, if you have questions. Click here for the proposed rule in the Federal Register.

BACKGROUND

The Federal Reserve Act authorizes "eligible institutions"-including credit unions-to earn interest on balances held at Reserve Banks. In 2008, the Fed amended Regulation D to direct Reserve Banks to pay interest on the required reserve balances of eligible institutions as well as on balances held in excess of the required reserve. The Fed currently pays an interest rate of 25 basis points on these balances.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE PROPOSED RULEMAKING

The Fed's rule would amend Regulation D to authorize the establishment of term deposits. These deposits would be similar to certificates of deposit and would be held at the Reserve Bank at which the eligible institution maintains its master account, or its correspondent's master account-if applicable. Term deposits would be separate and distinct from balances held in the institution's master account and excess balance account.

Term deposits would not satisfy required reserve balances or contractual clearing balances. In addition, term deposits would not be available to clear payments or cover daylight or overnight overdrafts. However, participating institutions would be able to use term deposits as collateral to borrow from the Fed's discount window. The Fed has indicated that term deposits would likely be available as collateral for any discount window advances that the institution might request, including for daylight overdraft purposes.

The interest rate for term deposits could be set through an auction mechanism, administratively, or by a formula. Regardless of the method the Fed ultimately chooses, the rate could not exceed the general level of "short-term interest rates." Short-term interest rates would be defined as the primary rate on obligations with maturities of up to one year in which eligible institutions may invest, such as term federal funds and term purchase agreements.

Under the proposed auction process, the Fed would conduct regularly scheduled auctions, offering a fixed quantity of term deposits with relatively short maturities. Eligible institutions would indicate both the interest rate they would accept and the amount of money they would deposit at that rate. Term deposit maturities would not exceed one year and would likely range from one to six months. An institution would be permitted to hold term deposits of more than one maturity simultaneously, but would not be permitted to withdraw deposits prior to maturity.

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER REGARDING THE PROPOSED RULEMAKING

  1. As proposed, is credit union participation in term deposits likely? Why or why not? If it is likely, what size credit unions are most likely to participate?
















  2. Is it necessary to place any limitations on the maximum amount of term deposits that an institution may hold or on the maximum portion of a single offering that an institution may win at auction?
















  3. What maturity or maturities would you recommend as appropriate for term deposits, and should more than one maturity be offered?
















  4. Are there basic terms and structures for term deposits other than those described above that should be considered?
















  5. The proposal includes a possible auction mechanism for obtaining term deposits. Would smaller credit unions be able to compete with larger financial institutions under such a process?
















  6. Any other questions or concerns regarding the proposed rule?
















Eric Richard • General Counsel • (202) 508-6742 • erichard@cuna.com
Mary Mitchell Dunn • SVP & Deputy General Counsel • (202) 508-6736 • mdunn@cuna.com
Jeffrey Bloch • Assistant General Counsel • (202) 508-6732 • jbloch@cuna.com
Luke Martone • Senior Regulatory Counsel • (202) 508-6743 • lmartone@cuna.com