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CURRENT Newsletter | 3 October 2013

Oct 3, 2013 by Lewis Wood

News and Information For and About Virginia's Credit Union System

Headline News

News About Credit Unions

Compliance/Regulatory Affairs News

Governmental Affairs News

Financial Services/Marketplace News

Education & Networking Opportunities

News From Credit Unions

Chapter News

News About The Competition

Technology News

Headline News

Social Media All A-Twitter: CUs Act Via 'Don't Tax' Virtual Rally

The call of "Don't Tax My Credit Union!" was amplified Wednesday, as the Credit Union National Association launched the newest apex of its advocacy efforts in support of the credit union tax status--featuring use of social media platforms--in a virtual rally.

Facebook and Twitter users across the country joined other credit union supporters gathered in Washington to speak up and send a united message to the U.S. Congress during CUNA's online tax status rally. CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney kicked off the rally at Credit Union House on Capitol Hill by encouraging online viewers to tweet their members of Congress.

[related: Tax Battle: Banks on Offensive Against Credit Unions]

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What Are You Doing to Aid Members Affected by the Shutdown?

Your League is gathering information on how credit unions are assisting members who are furloughed due to the government shutdown. Please send information to pr@vacul.org. This information may be shared with legislative offices to show how credit unions go the extra mile for their members.
[related: Shutdown Showcases CUs' Best Efforts Helping Members]
[related: CUs Offering Help To Furloughed Fed Employees]
[related: Government Shutdown Could Slow Housing Recovery]
[related: Shutdown: A Multi-Billion Dollar Hit to Economy]
[related: How a Government Shutdown Would Hurt Banks]
[related: Government Shutdown Does Not Include NCUA]
[related: How Badly Will the Shutdown Hurt the U.S. Economy?]

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Operations Releases Now Online

Your League has issued two new operations releases to guide you through upcoming changes: Operations Release No. 280: Amendments to NCUA’s Loan Participation Rule Effective September 23; and Operations Release No. 281: New Regulations Affect Cross-Border Fund Transfers Effective October 28.

[view the releases online] (You'll first need to be logged in at the League's website. Register here if you need a password for the League website]

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Compliance Conference Oct. 16-18; Register Today

Your League has put together a distinguished faculty for its 2013 Fall Compliance Conference, which will be held in Williamsburg, from Oct. 16 through 18. Please register your employees today to ensure they're prepared to address your credit union's most pressing compliance concerns.

  • Day one will focus on lending discrimination and the fair lending regulations—areas that will receive stepped-up scrutiny by examiners and regulators in the very near future. 
  • Day two will focus on internal controls and other tools to help your credit union avoid losses from internal and external fraud—an area where NCUA may soon be changing its examination focus.
  • Day three will focus on three areas of Virginia law that any credit union employee must know and understand: powers of attorney, unclaimed property and safe deposit boxes.

Attendees will get the latest tips and advice from such speakers as Moisette “Tonya” Sweat (Director of Consumer Compliance Policy at NCUA’s Office of Consumer Protection); nationally known credit-union attorney Andrew Keeney (Kaufman & Canoles); Alan Christopher (VP of Risk Management at DuPont Community Credit Union); Kristen Tatlock (Belvoir Federal Credit Union and Compass 4 CUs, LLC); examiner David Blanchard (NCUA); accountants David R. Legge (Clifton Larson Allen, LLP) and Harvey Johnson (PB Mares, LLP); Roger Nettie (Sr. Risk Consultant at CUNA Mutual); and Nathan Bowden (Director of Regulatory Affairs for VACUL).

You can register for the conference or learn more about it here.

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Front Line Fraud Conference Oct. 30; Early Bird Registration Discount Available

Join us Oct. 30 for the not-to-be-missed Front Line Fraud Conference. This full-day conference covers the key issues like protecting the passwords that provide access to your systems; spotting false IDs, counterfeiting and scams; fraud reporting procedures; and much more. Our facilitator is Barry Thompson, security and compliance guru for bankersonline.com.

Location: DoubleTree Hotel (Richmond Airport). Early bird registration of $164 through Oct. 18; $189 thereafter.

[download the registration packet] (pdf, 979kb)

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CU Members Raise Nearly $8,000 for VACUPAC at League Tournament; Top Legislative Issues Discussed at Forum

Tuesday (Sept. 24) and Wednesday (Sept. 25) were mega-days for governmental affairs. On Tuesday golfers teed up for the Virginia Credit Union Political Action Committee at the annual VACUPAC golf tournament, raising $7,925 for the only political action committee that supports legislative allies on the state level for Virginia’s credit unions.

Thank you golfers and sponsors! The golf tournament is the only statewide fundraiser for VACUPAC, and we appreciate your continuing commitment to the event. Wednesday, the League resurrected its standalone Legislative Leadership Forum after holding legislative educational sessions at the League Annual Meeting for several years.

[read more]

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Invest In America Webinar Set for Today to Unveil New Loan Lead Option

The Real Time GM Loan Lead reports are now LIVE! Invest In America is holding a national webinar to emphasize the Real Time GM Loan Leads generated for Premium Level credit unions on Thursday, Oct. 3 at 3 p.m.

Register now.

When members use the Credit Union Member Discount from GM program to purchase a new vehicle, Premium enrolled credit unions will receive an instant Loan Lead through email.  This email will provide great information about your member's intention to purchase a vehicle, and you can then reach out to the member and provide assistance with any lending needs!
By upgrading to the Premium level your credit union will receive enhanced benefits to assist with increasing auto loan volume and member loyalty:

  • Instant loan lead emails
  • Customized marketing materials including inserts and take-ones
  • Custom-sized web banners
  • GM Employee Pricing (EVA) for credit union employees that own a competitive make
  • Access to GM special offers
  • Occasional GM email marketing services
  • Plus all Standard Program Benefits

Click here to upgrade to the GM Premium level.

To see all of your GM Discount leads at any time, log in to the Invest In America Partner Center at www.LoveMyCreditUnion.org.

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News About Credit Unions

CUs Say No To Health Exchanges—For Now

Public health insurance exchanges, the cornerstone of the Affordable Care Act, debuted to a great deal of consumer interest this week, but little of that came from credit union execs. A quick, informal poll of health insurance experts and credit union CEOs indicates it’s wait-and-see for CUs now, due largely to skepticism toward the exchanges and CUs holding the line on providing employees with excellent healthcare benefits.

Sources, too, indicated that many of the public exchanges run by the federal government will not have complete website information to allow groups and individuals to make final decisions until early November. (Credit Union Journal, Oct. 2)

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FHFA Reminded CUs Need Secondary Market Access

Credit union access to the secondary market must be maintained in any future housing finance market reforms, Credit Union National Association staff emphasized during a call this week with Federal Housing Finance Agency officials.

"The discussion between CUNA, credit unions and the agency was productive, and we will be following up on many of the issues covered during the call in future talks with the FHFA," CUNA Deputy General Counsel Mary Dunn said.

The FHFA staff asked to meet with CUNA again very shortly to continue the discussions. CUNA and credit union staff during the call suggested:

  • The pricing policies of government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) and their replacements should factor in credit unions' low delinquency and default rates;
  • The GSEs and their replacements should purchase one loan as readily as pools of loans;
  • The GSEs and their replacements should not require small issuers to use large aggregators to service their loans; and
  • The GSEs and their replacements should purchase non-qualified mortgage loans.

FHFA staff updated CUNA and credit unions on the status of housing finance reform legislation, and asked for information on the challenges and opportunities housing finance reforms could create for community lenders.

[read more]

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Growing Investment Program Benefits CU, Members

Investment and insurance products are the largest potential untapped source of member-friendly, non-interest income for credit unions, attendees of CUNA Mutual Group’s fourth annual Online Discovery Conference were told Wednesday.

“Growing your credit union’s investment program is not only good business, but it’s good for business,” said Hendrix Niemann, managing director of practice and wealth management services for CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc.

[read more

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Credit Unions Face Significant Housing Finance Turnover

Credit unions shifting housing finance programs from refinancing existing loans to originating new loans may have to fire significant numbers of existing mortgage staff, according to a housing finance consultant. Pat Sherlock, president of credit union and bank finance consultancy QFS Sales Solutions in Medford, N.J., told executives attending the American Credit Union Mortgage Association's annual meeting Monday that researchers have identified nine traits that top producing mortgage originators share. 

The good news is that six of the traits can be developed or taught, but the bad news is that the three most unique to mortgage originators are developed early and are really not something that can be developed later, Sherlock said. The nine traits are energy, follow through, optimism, resilience, assertiveness, sociability,self-reliance, low expressiveness and positivity about people.

“None of these are terribly surprising,” Sherlock told the meeting “and the first six are those you might find in other sales industries. But the last three are really crucial to mortgage origination – and they can't be taught.”

[read more]

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Compliance/Regulatory Affairs News

Cordray Sees Cracks in CARD Act Protections

Banks and other credit card issuers are charging less in penalties and doing a better job of disclosing previously hidden fees, according to a report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. But the agency said it is still scrutinizing credit card practices because of other concerns, such as high annual fees, deceptive add-on product offerings and deferred interest rate specials that catch consumers off guard.

The report was intended to gauge the state of the credit card market following the enactment of the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act in 2010.

For the most part, CFPB officials said the market is more consumer-friendly, even if they are paying higher fees. (American Banker Online, Oct. 2)
[related: CUNA's Dunn Outlines CARD Act Challenges For CUs]
[related: CFPB's Cordray Reports CARD Act Progress For Consumers]

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Federal Regulators Issue Guidance on Reporting Financial Abuse of Older Adults

Seven federal regulatory agencies last week issued guidance to clarify that the privacy provisions of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act generally permit financial institutions to report suspected elder financial abuse to appropriate authorities. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act generally requires that a financial institution notify consumers and give them an opportunity to opt-out before providing nonpublic personal information to a third party.

Today’s guidance clarifies that it is generally acceptable under the law for financial institutions to report suspected elder financial abuse to appropriate local, state, or federal agencies.

[read more]

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Governmental Affairs News

'Casual for a Cause' Returns Oct. 17

The Legislative Committee of the Richmond Chapter introduced a promotion last year called “Casual For A Cause," during which credit unions were asked to allow their staff to dress casual in exchange for a donation to the Virginia Credit Union Political Action Committee (VACUPAC). 

This event raised $2,500 in one day for VACUPAC with participation from 13 credit unions. With such great success and support last year, the Legislative Committee has decided to hold this promotion again this year. The promotion will be held on Oct. 17, International Credit Union Day.  You get to choose the definition of “casual." We are also introducing this through social media. So, if you “like” this idea, then “like” Casual For A Cause on Facebook!

Go to facebook.com/casualforacause and become a fan to stay up-to-date on donation totals, educational information about VACUPAC, and the photos from International Credit Union Day! Participate in the chatter – update your credit union percentages, share ideas you have to increase employee participation, encourage your staff to “like” (as well as donate) to show their credit union support!

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GSE Reform Unlikely Until 2015: Roundtable's Pawlenty

Timothy Pawlenty, president and chief executive of the Financial Services Roundtable, predicted recently that housing finance reform will pass after the 2014 mid-term elections. The former Minnesota governor discussed the landscape for reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at a housing event in Washington hosted by the American Action Forum and the Progressive Policy Institute, saying he's hopeful that the pieces are moving in the right direction for change.

"Unlike most other large issues facing the country, facing the economy, this one can actually get addressed," said Pawlenty. (American Banker Online, Oct. 2)

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Financial Services/Marketplace News

Issuer Study Says Retailers Keep Interchange Savings

On the same day a merchant group's study claimed retailers pass on interchange savings to consumers, debit card issuers released their own study that claims merchants do no such thing.

“As part of their lobbying tactics, giant retailers promised to lower prices for their customers if Congress passed the Durbin amendment. Two years after implementation, retailers have taken home an $8 billion annual windfall while their customers still aren’t seeing a discount for using debit,” said Sam Fabens, spokesman for the Electronic Payments Coalition, which sponsored the study.

[read more]

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Loan Applications Drop with Mortgage Rates

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its weekly report on mortgage applications Wednesday morning, noting a decrease of 0.4% in the group’s seasonally adjusted composite index, following a rise of 5.5% for the previous week. Mortgage loan rates once again fell across the board last week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index decreased by 6% from last week’s report. On an unadjusted basis, the composite index fell by 1% week-over-week.

The unadjusted purchase index decreased by 6% for the week and is down 3% year-over-year. The MBA’s refinance index rose by 3%, after increasing by 5% in the previous week. The share of refinancings rose by two points to 63% of all applications.

[read more]
[related: Banks Abandon Mortgage Preapprovals]

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Education & Networking Opportunities

Free Workshop on Supervisory Committee Responsibilities Set for Oct. 25

1st Advantage Federal Credit Union is sponsoring a free one-hour workshop on supervisory committee responsibilities on Oct. 25, beginning at 4 p.m. The facilitator is Kirk Cuevas of Dollar and Associates. Ceuvas worked for the National Credit Union Administration from 1997-2004, serving as chief of staff and counsel to the chairman of the NCUA Board from 2001 to 2004.

He is a co-founder and partner in Dollar Associates, LLC, a full-service consulting group that focuses on credit unions. Seating is limited. Register  by contacting Criston Kudlacik at 757.886.3315 or CKudlacik@1stAdvantage.org. Meeting will be held at 1st Advantage's Kiln Creek Branch (110 Cybernetics Way, Yorktown 23693).

[learn more]

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Fiserv EFT Users Meeting Nov. 7

Join us Nov. 7 in Richmond for the Fiserv EFT Users Meeting. Location: Doubletree – Richmond Airport Hotel. Topics will include Fraud Prevention, UChoose Rewards, and an EMV Update.

[learn more and register]

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News From Credit Unions

Justice FCU Offers Special Assistance for Members Facing Federal Government Shutdown, Sequestration, or Furlough

As concerns sweep the nation regarding a shutdown of the Federal Government, Justice Federal Credit Union is prepared to assist its members. The credit union announced that it would offer all members from the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security that require assistance due to loss of income, low interest loans and deferred payments. 

Justice FCU members confronted with a shutdown, sequestration or furlough will be offered special unsecured loans up to $10,000 at an annual rate of 0% for the first 60 days. After that time, the rate will convert to 4.90% for a term of 24-months.The loan amount will be based on the member’s net pay deposit, with direct deposit required. In addition, members may defer their first loan payment for up to 60 days.

[read more]

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Belvoir Federal Fully Prepared to Serve Members during Government Shutdown

With the threat and now reality of the government shutting down, Belvoir Federal Credit Union continues to offer products and services that can assist members with their financial situations during this challenging time.

Throughout 2013’s sequestration and now government shutdown, Belvoir Federal has been ready to serve members with an emergency loan option which allows members to borrow funds at 0% APR for the initial 60 days, facilitate skip-a-pays and loan workout programs, as well as offer Financial Coaching to members to help prepare their finances for the hardship they might incur.

[read more]

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Belvoir Federal Employees Participate in National Miracle Jeans Day

Belvoir Federal employees, also known as The Belvoir Believers, created a team microsite where employees could donate money directly online. The team set a goal to raise $1,000 for the National Miracle Jeans Day. For three weeks, Belvoir Federal collected donations through the microsite which granted a donation of $1,474 to be made to the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.

[read more]

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Financial Class Held by Belvoir Federal for Senior Enlisted Soldiers

In early September, Belvoir Federal Credit Union arranged with the United States Army Element South (USAE-S) Command to host a financial class for senior enlisted soldiers serving Fort Belvoir. There were approximately 150 soldiers in attendance.

[read more]

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Virginia Credit Union Wins Technology Award for Online Membership Opening

Virginia Credit Union has won a technology award for its online membership opening process.

The Excellence in Technology Awards are being presented this week at an annual CUNA Technology Conference. After being implemented in July 2012, VACU’s online membership opening surpassed the credit union’s largest branch as the top channel for new members. Since the application became available, more than 4,000 members have joined online.

[read more]

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Argent Credit Union, Assurance Federal Credit Union Announce Merger

Argent Credit Union and Assurance Federal Credit Union have completed their planned merger. Argent Credit Union will continue as the ongoing credit union and Rose E. Gilliam, Argent’s President/CEO, will lead the combined $205 million organization.

[read more]

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BayPort Credit Union Opens 16th Branch in Fox Hill area of Hampton

BayPort Credit Union announces that it has opened its 16th branch located in the Willow Oaks Shopping Center in the Fox Hill community of Hampton.

“We are very pleased to be opening our newest branch in the Fox Hill community,” stated George R. Dudley, Jr., President/CEO of BayPort Credit Union. “This is an ideal location for our members and this new branch is part of BayPort’s ongoing commitment to provide outstanding service and convenience to our membership.”

The 4,400 square foot full-service branch is equipped with an expansive teller line, three drive-up teller lanes, a drive-up ATM and night depository, along with 273 safe deposit boxes in varying sizes.

[read more]

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Chapter News

Lynchburg Chapter to Hold Legislative Night Oct. 8

The Lynchburg Chapter will hold its annual Legislative Night on Oct. 8. Please attend and show your support for credit unions and help educate our lawmakers about the "Credit Union Difference." Location: Beacon Credit Union Corporate Office (107 Leroy Bowen Drive, Lynchburg). Time: 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Register by close of business, Oct. 3.

[learn more]

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Tidewater Chapter to Host Legislator Night

The Tidewater Chapter will host its annual Legislator Night on Oct. 10. We strongly encourage you to attend to help educate our lawmakers  about the "Credit Union Difference." Location: Greenbrier Country Club, 1301 Volvo Parkway, Chesapeake 23320. Time: 6:00 p.m. for social and 6:30 p.m. for dinner and program. 

Make your reservations early! To RSVP contact Ginnie Riddle by email at VRiddle@bayportcu.org or by phone at 757.873.4047.

[read more]

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Roanoke Valley Chapter Meets Oct. 15 for Legislative Night

The Roanoke Valley Chapter of Credit Unions cordially invites you to join credit union volunteers and professionals, sponsor representatives and elected officials for our Annual Dinner celebrating International Credit Union Week. 

Date: Tuesday, Oct. 15. Location: In the Shendandoah Room of the Hotel Roanoke (110 Shenandoah Ave. Roanoke, VA). Agenda: Cocktails at 6 p.m.; dinner at 7 p.m.; and program at 8:15 p.m.

[learn more]

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Richmond Chapter Meets Oct. 15

Jay Stegmaier, Chesterfield County administrator, will be the featured speaker at the Richmond Chapter's Oct. 15 meeting. The Chapter will be honoring the sponsor companies and organizations that helped start our credit unions and the volunteer officials who help make our credit unions great! Location: Willow Oaks Country Club (6228 Forest Hill Ave., Richmond).

Time: 5:30 p.m. registration and cocktails; 6 p.m. dinner and 7 p.m. chapter meeting updates. RSVP by Oct. 11 for the early bird rate of $30 to Dianna Clouse at dianna.clouse@vacu.org.

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NoVA Chapter to Host Legislator Appreciation Night Oct. 17

The Northern Virginia Chapter of the Virginia Credit Union League cordially invites you to our Legislator Appreciation Night on Oct. 17. Join us as we salute our elected officials for their public service and educate lawmakers about the "Credit Union Difference."

Location: Fairview Park Marriott (3111 Fairview Park Drive, Falls Church, 22042). Time: 5:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. Please RSVP by Oct. 14 to Judy Pollard at pollardj@jfcu.org or call 703.480.5300 ext. 3102. 

[learn more]

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News About The Competition

Meet the New Payday Loan Customer: Middle-Class, Well-Educated

Fringe financial services like check cashing storefronts, pawn shops and payday lenders carry plenty of stereotypes. Namely that their patrons are not well off and likely made up of the working poor who may not have college educations. That stereotype may be breaking in the wake of the 2009 financial crisis and the recession that followed. Increasingly, consumers going outside mainstream banking look a lot more like, well, the American middle class.

A recent study conducted by the Urban Institute found that, in 2011, 41% of American households reported using what the agency calls “alternative financial services,” according to Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research. That’s up from 36% in 2009, in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. 

About a quarter of all households used an alternative financial service within the past year, FDIC data studied by the Urban Institute revealed, and about 12% had used one in the 30 days prior to the research being conducted. These non-bank services include borrowing activities as well as transactions like cashing a check or buying a money order.

[read more]

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Technology News

More than Half of Consumers Pay Bills on Mobile Devices: Survey

Mobile banking is about more than just checking account balances. More than half of consumers worldwide use their mobile devices to pay a bill, according to SAP's survey of more than 12,000 adults who own a basic mobile device or smartphone. SAP, a financial technology vendor, published the survey Wednesday. The survey, which drew data from 17 countries including the U.S., also found that 52 percent of consumers make a bank transfer and 48 percent set up new accounts on mobile devices.

"Through our research, and the work we have done with leading global banks, we see the consumer appetite for mobile banking - and the range of services that can be provided via mobile devices - increasing as customers are keen to embrace more complex banking activity," said Eric Stine, general manager of financial services for SAP America, in a press release.

Convenience is the likely draw of the channel: 61 percent of those polled said it would not be easy to get to a bank branch on a daily basis. (American Banker Online, Sept. 18)
[related: Mobile Technology Changing Business Models, CUNA Mutual Group's Miller Tells Online Discovery Attendees]

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