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Alabama Rep. Bachus to head House Financial Services Committee

Credit unions scored an expected victory this week when Alabama Rep. Spencer Bachus (R) was chosen by his Republican colleagues to chair the House Financial Services Committee in the next Congress. Bachus won a 10th term in November and he easily beat back a challenge from California’s Ed Royce, another strong credit union supporter. The support of the Republican leaders will be critical in the next Congress after credit unions lost several key allies in this year’s mid-term elections, including its leading champion, Democrat Paul Kanjorski of Pennsylvania.

The ascension of Bachus to chairman of the committee is a major change in direction for the committee for credit unions from the activism of Chairman Barney Frank (D) who championed reform of credit card, overdraft and financial services reform. Bachus is a strong ally of credit unions supporting efforts for regulatory relief, an increase in member business lending and the corporate credit union bailout.

"We will reinvigorate the Committee's oversight role, holding the President and his economic team accountable for their policies and demanding greater efficiency and savings in government programs that fall within our jurisdiction," said Bachus.

He served as chairman of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions until the Democrats won control of the House in 2006, has indicated his agenda will include efforts to roll back several provisions of the recently passed Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act and to end the federal conservatorships of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The Senate Banking Committee will be chaired in the next Congress by Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), who will get a head start on leading the panel this week when he chairs a hearing on the NCUA’s handling of the corporate bailout. NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz is expected to be the only speaker at that hearing.