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Sunset commission wants more financial info
AUSTIN, Texas (9/9/08)--Among the recommendations made recently by the Texas Sunset Review Commission was a proposal for legislation that would require credit unions to file separate tax returns. Such a proposal would present an increased burden on the state's credit unions, says the Texas Credit Union League. Currently the information for about 220 state chartered credit unions is combined into a single tax form filing (Star-Telegram Sept. 7). The commission recently recommended a bill to require them to fill out separate Form 990s with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Filing separate returns would make it easier for members to study their institution's bottom line, assess its financial risks or learn how much top officers are paid, the commission said. However, league President/CEO Dick Ensweiler told the Star-Telegram that the proposal would require more accountants to file the separate forms. Most credit unions are small and don't have such experts on staff, he said, adding they shouldn't have to take on more regulatory burden. The news report did not address the fact that members can get financial information from credit unions' annual reports and from the National Credit Union Administration, Winter D. Prosapio, league advocacy-communications director, told News Now. "The story makes it sound as if there isn't any visibility for members as to the health of their credit union," she said. With the exception of specific executive compensation, a new aspect of the revised 990 forms, "that's simply not the case," she said. Harold Feeney, commissioner of the Credit Union Department, told the newspaper that the department is supportive of the Sunset Commission's recommendations. The commission recommended that credit unions should submit to members annual updates of finances, inform members regularly that they can see documents about finances and management, and publicize that members can file complaints. The public would not have access to credit union examination results. The report also recommended more authority for Feeney to pursue credit union fraud.


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