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Credit Union Legal Services

Set forth below is a partial listing of the services, which my firm has rendered in the past to my credit union clients. Many of these services are provided on an on-going basis. Others are rendered only when required by the credit union. Virtually all of the services listed below are provided as part of the monthly retainer. The only items not included in the monthly retainer are litigation, real estate and mortgage closings and "extraordinary items" beyond the scope of the retainer such as construction of a new credit union office building, or a complicated bond claim.

I have been providing legal services to my credit union clients for more than thirty years. In addition to the legal services, which I provide my clients, I also provide consulting services to assist the credit union in its operation.

Assistance in the Operation of the Credit Union

Some of my credit union clients have relatively small staffs and the employees are often responsible for several different jobs. In the years that I have represented credit unions, I have resolved all types of operational problems experienced by my credit union clients. Many times these problems can be resolved by a simple telephone call, and I encourage my credit union clients to have their staff contact my office when a problem arises. Among the many items of assistance rendered by my office to the credit union concerning its operation are the following:

Resolving operational problems involving virtually every department of the Credit Union including:

  • Teller Operation
  • Deposit and Loan Accounts
  • Loan Collateral
  • Deceased Member Accounts
  • Employee Disputes
  • Claims Involving Terminated Employees
  • Trust Accounts
  • IRAs
  • Reporting to the IRS
  • Disputes with Members
  • Disputes with Credit Union Vendors
  • Fraud and Theft Claims
  • Stop Payment Inquiries
  • Review of Powers of Attorney
  • Adjustable Rate Loan Inquiries
  • Relationship with Corporate Sponsor
  • Escheat of Unclaimed Property
  • Records Retention Inquiries
  • Counterfeiting Issues
  • Job Descriptions
  • Loan Promotion Issues
  • Teller Shortages
  • IRS Backup Withholding
  • Electronic Funds Transfer Services
  • Employee Loan Discount Programs
  • Bylaw Amendments
  • Annual Meeting and Election Issues
  • Audio Response Disclosures and Problems

My office also provides assistance to my clients concerning the following areas:

  • Resolving problems with automobile loans, including disputes with automobile dealers involving change in automobile, no title or no lien

  • Obtaining automobiles from storage yards or garagemen and resolving disputes involving property subject to credit union lien

  • Handling of disputes involving operational errors and mistakes

  • Wire transfers and Automated Clearing House problems

  • Field of membership issues and charter expansion requests

  • Resolving problems associated with subpoena of credit union documents and employees

  • Grand jury subpoenas of credit union employees

  • Investigation requests from authorities and restrictions imposed by the Right to Financial Privacy Act

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Compliance Matters

My office renders assistance to the credit union in all areas affecting compliance with applicable federal and state law and regulation. Including the following:
  • Truth-In-Savings
  • Truth-In-Lending
  • Equal Credit Opportunity Act
  • Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
  • Fair Credit Reporting Act
  • Expedited Funds Availability Act
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Act
  • Home Mortgage Disclosure Act
  • Flood Insurance
  • New Jersey Uniform Commercial Code
  • The Bank Secrecy Act
  • The Privacy Act
  • Freedom Of Information Act
  • Regulation G
  • Service Members Civil Relief Act
  • IRS Reporting Requirements
  • Regulation E

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Contract Review

My office reviews all contracts involving the credit union's operation and vendors such as the following:

  • Sharedraft Processing Agreements

  • Data Processing Agreements

  • Credit Scoring And Credit Prescreening Agreement

  • Contracts Involving The Credit Union's Corporate Sponsor

  • Optical Disk Storage Agreements

  • Marketing Agreements

  • Agreements With Third Party Vendors

  • Contracts Involving Electronic Fund Transfer Switches, Networks, And Internet Services

  • Student Loan And Other State And Federal Guarantee Loan Programs

  • Loan Participation Agreements With Other Credit Unions

  • Leases For Credit Union Offices

  • Loan Guarantee Agreements With Corporate Sponsor

  • Contracts With Credit Reporting Agencies

In particular, my firm has developed substantial experience in representing credit unions in negotiating the crucial data processing agreements under which the credit union receives data processing services from a third party vendor either by means of an in-house computer system or an "on-line" system.

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Credit Union Services

Deposit Accounts - At the request of the credit union, I render assistance in the offering and development of credit union loan services including deposit accounts such as share, sharedraft, share certificate and IRA accounts, preparation of account agreement cards, disclosure forms, truth-in-savings disclosure documents and policies, development of telephonic access to credit union accounts.

Loan Accounts - My office also provides assistance in the offering and implementation of credit union loan services including working with the credit union staff to develop the documentation, policies, and terms for new loan programs, preparation of application forms, disclosures, loan documents, and other documents necessary for the program.

New Services - Many of my credit union clients find my past experience in assisting credit unions and offering new services is valuable to the credit union when it develops and new deposit or loan service. Recently, I have worked with my clients in developing such new services as Check 21 and remote deposit of checks, business accounts and services, Automated Clearing House services, loan participations for Taxi Medallion loans, commercial loans, church loans and student loans, the sale of investment in insurance products at the credit union offices, expedited loan programs, pre-screened and pre-approved loan programs, home banking and electronic delivery of credit union services access to EFT networks and switches which enable credit union members to participate in ATM programs despite the fact that the credit union does not own any proprietary ATM machines; participation in the shared branching program; automobile leasing; the sale of investments and insurance products at credit union offices; expedited loan programs; interest free IRS tax refund loans; prescreened and pre-approved credit card loans, 24 hour loan services, electronic branches and access to the Internet.

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Mortgage Program

My office has developed an extensive mortgage program to assist the credit union in implementing and offering mortgage loans including first and second, fixed and variable rate mortgages, and home equity loans. My office assists the credit union in developing the complete mortgage program and including establishing the terms under which the loans will be offered to credit union members, development of written loan policies, and preparation of all of the necessary forms, disclosures, and loan documents. I am a subscriber to the Servicing and Seller Guide of both the Federal National Mortgage Association ("FNMA") and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation ("FHLMC"). My office has prepared sample application forms, commitment letters, disclosure statements, general closing instructions, final closing instructions, and mortgage loan checklist for use by the credit union. I also act as review attorney for all of my credit union clients offering first mortgage loan. My office also assists my credit union clients in servicing mortgage loans, including handling real estate tax and insurance escrow issues, delinquency, flood insurance matters and other issues arising during the term of the mortgage loan.

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Regulatory Assistance

During the many years that I have represented credit union clients, I have developed a relationship with both the National Credit Union Administration, and the New Jersey Department of Banking. My office communicates with representatives of Region II of the National Credit Union Administration on a regular basis and I am familiar with most of the examiners, supervisory examiners, and members of the General Counsel's Office of the National Credit Union Administration. I have handled virtually every type of regulatory problem arising from the operation of the credit union from simple matters up to and including the conservatorship of a credit union. I monitor changes in the regulatory procedures, including receiving all of the National Credit Union Administration Letters to Credit Union, regulatory changes, bylaw amendments and manuals. My office also maintains electronic access to the NCUA Bulletin Board and Records, including access to all Interpretive Ruling and Policy Statements ("IRPS") and opinion letters of the General Counsel's Office.

Among the many issues previously resolved with NCUA on behalf of my credit union clients are field of membership and charter expansion issues, disputes including the adequacy of allowances for losses account, disputes concerning write-down of investments, CAMEL ratings, member business loans, real estate loans in foreclosure. My office also has substantial experience in negotiating with NCUA concerning findings set forth in the record of action and requests for letters of understanding.

My office also communicates with representatives of the New Jersey Department of Banking concerning state law issues, which would apply to both my state chartered and federally chartered clients.

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Collection Services

With the exception of litigation, virtually all of the collection services are provided to my credit union clients as part of the monthly retainer. My office has experience in handling lender liability claims, which are often times brought by a delinquent borrower when the credit union seeks to obtain a judgment or foreclose against collateral owned by the debtor

Bankruptcy - My office will assist the credit union in all bankruptcy matters. My office files proof of claims, resolves disputes concerning collateral for credit union loans, negotiates and prepares reaffirmation agreements, resolves disputes concerning offsetting the debtor’s deposit accounts at the credit union, and handles other matters involving the member’s bankruptcy. All bankruptcy services are included as part of the monthly retainer with the exception of bankruptcy litigation.

Loan Workouts and Foreclosures - As a result of the problems with the New Jersey real estate market, and other problems associated with the recession, many credit union mortgage loans are in default. My office works with our credit union clients in reference to loan workouts for real estate loans, and also represents our clients in foreclosing delinquent mortgage loans.

Loan Workouts - As a result of the problems with the New Jersey real estate market, which commenced in 2008, and other problems associated with the recession, many real estate loans went into default. Over the years my office has handled a significant number of real estate loans, both residential and commercial which became delinquent. As a result of these experiences, my office has developed substantial experience with loan workouts. I have found that in many cases, a significantly better repayment agreement can be negotiated if the loan is initially approached as a potential workout as opposed to a collection litigation matter. My office attempts to contact the borrower. In the event the borrower responds my firm negotiates a repayment agreement, surrender of collateral, deed in lieu of foreclosure, etc. This program has proven particular valuable for my credit union clients in light of the substantial delays associated with foreclosure and the fact that many borrowers have filed bankruptcy rather than repay their loans to the credit union.

Collection Litigation - All litigation is handled by my office on a reduced hourly basis for my credit union retainer clients. All litigation must be specifically requested by the credit union. Collection suits are litigated on a flat fee basis assuming the matter is uncontested. This results in the credit union having a fixed cost for the collection suit. My office will obtain a judgment, writ of execution and wage garnishment to collect the judgment. Bankruptcy litigation is relatively infrequent. Litigation in the bankruptcy court is normally associated only with vacating the automatic stay, which allows the credit union to repossess its collateral. In addition, my office is occasionally requested by the credit union to conduct a discovery hearing pursuant to Rule 2004. In the event the credit union suspects that it has been defrauded by the borrower, I would conduct a Rule 2004 hearing which enables me to question the borrower under oath as to the circumstances surrounding the credit union loan. This program has proven effective in obtaining payment agreements from individuals who file for bankruptcy with large unsecured loans under circumstances where the credit union believes it has been defrauded by the member.

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Personnel Matters

During the past few years personnel matters have become increasingly more common with my credit union clients. Employees today have a heightened sense of expectation as to their rights as an employee which often conflict with the "Employment-at-Will" policy of the New Jersey courts. My office assists the credit union in preparation and review of the credit union personnel manual. My office also monitors New Jersey law and court decisions for personnel issues, which would affect the credit union. I handle disputes involving the demotion, transfer, hiring or firing of credit union employees and represent the credit union in claims filed by employees with the New Jersey Superior Court as well as the New Jersey Department of Labor and the Division of Civil Rights. My office assists the credit union in complying with the Conscientious Employee Protection Act and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination as well as the Equal Employment Opportunity Act and other employee legislation which is applicable to the credit union.

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Peter J. Liska, LLC

766 Shrewsbury Avenue
Tinton Falls, NJ 07724

(732) 933-7777

For information, email us at: Info@PeterLiska.com

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