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CUNA seeks fair value OTTI comments

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WASHINGTON (3/23/09)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is seeking comment on two proposed staff positions by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) that would provide guidance on fair value measurements and impairment of securities. Comment is due to CUNA no later than Tuesday. The first staff position on the recognition and presentation of other-than-temporary impairment (OTTI) intends to provide greater clarity and consistency in accounting for and presenting impairment losses on securities. The changes would seek to make current guidance more operational and improve the presentation of OTTI in financial statements. The second staff position would provide guidelines for making fair-value measurements more consistent with the principles presented in FASB Statement No. 157, Fair Value Measurements. The guidance would employ a two-step process and apply to financial assets within the scope of accounting procurements that require or permit fair value. FAS 157, issued in 2006, creates a single definition and framework for measuring fair value in U.S. generally accepted accounting principles to increase consistency and comparability. Both positions, if approved, would be effective for interim and annual periods ending after March 15. For more information, use the links.

HSAs bring value to community says NCUAs Hood

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (3/23/09)--Credit unions that provide health savings accounts (HSAs) to businesses and individuals in their fields of membership offer an exceptional advantage, according to National Credit Union Administration Vice Chair Rodney Hood. “Credit unions must embrace a proactive strategy to stay competitive in the marketplace while continuing to focus on education for both the credit union employees and the consumer,” Hood told attendees of the Members Health Network first annual credit union HSA roundtable at Allegacy FCU, Winston-Salem, N.C. “Given the close relationship between credit unions and their members, you are well-poised to spread awareness of HSAs before other larger financial institutions.” The roundtable brought together credit union leaders to discuss the HSA market, focusing on the opportunities facing credit unions to expand member services while advancing business development through HSA programs. Credit unions offering HSAs help businesses with HSA plans, education and employee satisfaction, and provide employees and individuals increased membership to offer more products and services, Hood said. As more credit unions begin to offer HSAs, they will be better positioned to be a full-service provider for businesses, he added.

Inside Washington (03/20/2009)

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* WASHINGTON (3/23/09)--Senate Banking Committee hearing participants Thursday indicated that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) may be a top candidate for regulating systemic risk. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) said it might make more sense to give the FDIC the authority to resolve problems with systemic institutions because it has experience in that area. FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair and Federal Reserve Board Gov. Dan Tarullo both agreed. Tarullo noted that the Fed should at least have a consultative role (American Banker March 20). Bair said it would be simple to give the FDIC power to resolve bank holding companies. Dodd also asked regulators if all four banking agencies were needed. Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan said there are too many agencies, and other regulators said some consolidation could help. But Bair noted that a dual banking system has its benefits, such as “preserving the state charter” ... * WASHINGTON (3/23/09)--Arthur Murton, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) director of insurance and research, said limiting the agency’s Deposit Insurance Fund in good economic times is a mistake (American Banker March 20). Congress should consider the rebate requirement or provide more flexibility to allow the fund to grow, he said. Limits on the fund will mean that the FDIC will have to charge higher premiums and will prevent the FDIC from rebuilding the fund in the future, Murton added. The FDIC must give back half of the premiums charged when the reserves ratio is more than 1.35%. All premiums more than 1.5% must be returned ... * WASHINGTON (3/23/09)--As the House approved a bill that would tax bonuses at a rate of 90% given by companies receiving $5 billion or more under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said more restrictions are coming (American Banker March 20). Frank is working on another bill to target executive compensation that could be voted on this week, he said. He did not provide details, however. The legislation passed Thursday by the House affects bonuses received after Jan. 1 and applies to workers earning more than $250,000 per year. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill this week ...