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NCUA reports 1,850 RBC comments, still room in 'listening sessions'

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (5/30/14)--The National Credit Union Administration logged in 1,850 comment letters on its risk-based capital proposal as of Thursday morning, and reported spaces still open for each of its three "listening sessions" across the country.
 
The comment deadline was 11:59 p.m. (ET) May 28. However, NCUA Chair Debbie Matz has assured that the federal regulator would consider comments received any time prior to finalization of the rule.
 
Each of the NCUA's post-comment period listening sessions is open to 150 attendees. The NCUA said the June 26 session in Los Angeles has 98 registrants, 126 have registered for the July 10 session in Chicago, and 120 have registered for the final listening session in Alexandria, Va.
 
The Credit Union National Association encourages credit unions to stay engaged in the RBC regulatory process as the NCUA works to create a final rule. CUNA filed its own comment letter prior to the deadline, calling the current proposal "seriously flawed" and suggesting a series of improvements.
 
Use the resource link to read News Now on the CUNA comment and to access the letter.

Treasury publishes changes to mutilated currency rule

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WASHINGTON (5/30/14)--What to do with tattered currency? The U.S. Treasury Department's Bureau of Engraving has published an interim final rule amending its regulations on exchange of mutilated paper currency.
 
The interim rule will allow the bureau's Mutilated Currency Division examiners to cease processing damaged-currency submissions that appear to be part of any illegal scheme, and instead alert law enforcement officials about their suspicions.  It also serves as notice to the public about what to do with legitimate redemption requests.
 
The interim rule uses several categories of amendments, which:
  • Notify the public about the characteristics mutilated paper currency must have in order to be submitted for possible redemption;
  • Inform the public of the present practices in the Bureau of Engraving and Printing's Mutilated Currency Division, and deter fraud in mutilated currency submissions;
  • Clarify packaging and shipping requirements for mutilated currency submissions and update the delivery methods and the appropriate address for shipping purposes; and
  • Notify the public that their information may be provided to law enforcement officials pertaining to any mutilated currency submission.
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing reports it has encountered some schemes where currency is intentionally mutilated in an apparent attempt to defraud the government. The intentionally mutilated currency is often intermingled with other bills in an effort to thwart detection.
 
The rule is effective immediately, and comments will be accepted through July 28.
 
Use the resource link below for the full interim rule.

NEW: CUNA: NCUA should respond to Hill RBC concerns with meaningful changes to proposal

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WASHINGTON (5/30/14, UPDATED 12:40 p.m. ET)--The National Credit Union Administration responded this morning to 324 federal lawmakers who voiced concern about the agency's proposed risk-based capital plan. The bipartisan collection of House members joined Reps. Peter King (R-N.Y.) and Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) earlier this month to express their concern over the NCUA proposed rule and urged the federal agency to ensure the proposal does not adversely affect small businesses and credit union members.
 
Credit Union National Association President/CEO Bill Cheney immediately issued a statement expressing CUNA's appreciation of the NCUA's acknowledgement of the very significant interest on the part of Congress regarding the proposed rule on risk-based capital.  He also thanked Matz for reiterating the agency's willingness make changes to the proposal.
 
However, Cheney emphasized that the concerns expressed in the letter from Capitol Hill, signed by three quarters of House members, must be acknowledged by the board as it finalizes the rule. 
 
"Congress is concerned that NCUA is proposing risk-weights that are, in some cases, more stringent than the standards imposed on small banks; they don't want a rule that has a significant adverse impact on otherwise very healthy credit unions; and they want credit unions to have more than enough time to comply with the rule. It is critical that NCUA respond to these concerns not only with today's letter, but with meaningful changes to the final rule," the CUNA leader said. 
 
He added, "We strongly encourage the board to also give very careful consideration to the views of the members of Congress who worked on H.R. 1151 in 1998.  Former Banking Committee Chairman Alphonse D'Amato, former Senator Richard Bryan and former Speaker Newt Gingrich, all have expressed concern that the proposed rule would exceed the authority conveyed to NCUA in 1998.  The congressional intent is clear in the minds of these lawmakers, and the final rule should be consistent with that intent."
 
Finally, Cheney stated, the NCUA should reconsider its portrayal of the impact the proposed rule would have on credit unions. 
 
"The agency knows very well that credit unions operate with capital cushions at the behest of their examiners and to avoid inadvertently dropping below required capital levels.  While the rule would not require them to maintain these capital buffers, commonsense and sound business practice do. 
 
"Nothing in the proposed rule alters the reality that most credit unions will not want to live on the edge of prompt corrective action, especially in light of this new complicated rule.  There is absolutely no doubt that impact this proposal, if finalized, will be more significant than the estimates generated by NCUA," Cheney warned.
 
Congress is concerned, Cheney reminded, that the NCUA is proposing risk-weights that are, in some cases, more stringent than the standards imposed on small banks.
 
"They don't want a rule that has a significant adverse impact on otherwise very healthy credit unions; and they want credit unions to have more than enough time to comply with the rule.  It is critical that NCUA respond to these concerns not only with the today's letter, but with meaningful changes to the final rule. "

FLEC seeks fin. ed. for young consumers

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WASHINGTON (5/30/14)--Knowledge of personal finance isn't an automatic part of employment, especially for young people new to the workforce who often don't have an understanding of payroll deductions and tax withholding. With that in mind, the members of the Financial Literacy and Education Commission (FLEC) are taking extra steps to bring financial education to employees just starting their careers.

Speaking at a FLEC field hearing Thursday, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray addressed the importance of financial education in the workplace, especially for young people. Stressing that the economic system in the United States can only endure if education starts "at the bottom up," he said that the CFPB has been working with the Office of Personnel Management to create a financial education program for the federal government, and he encouraged FLEC members to do that same.

"Ultimately, we want to enable our young people to pursue decisions that will allow them to achieve their future financial goals," he said. "To that end, at the Consumer Bureau we are working on a project that specifically examines the issue of consumer financial well-being. We are evaluating just what financial well-being is exactly, what skills and behaviors help people achieve it, and how we can measure it."

Cordray recalled meeting with a representative from Southwire, an Atlanta-based company that partnered with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta for a mentoring program designed bring financial professionals and educators in contact with employees, to give them a better sense of the big picture when it comes to personal finance.

Citing inspiration from Southwire and a number of other innovative approaches presented at the February FLEC meeting, the commission has founded an effort called the State Engagement Project.

"This project is designed to gather input from state policymakers on resources and information that will be helpful for states to consider when determining the best way to incorporate youth financial education into their programs," Cordray said. "We think this is an excellent opportunity for federal agencies to partner with state policymakers to expand access to K-12 financial education and help develop ways to offer hands-on financial learning."

Cordray stressed that the goals of the project cannot be achieved at the federal level, but with the participation of state and local institutions as well.

FLEC is comprised of the heads of the CFPB, the National Credit Union Administration, and 17 other federal agencies.

Int'l and U.S. accounting boards issue joint revenue standard

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WASHINGTON (5/30/14)--The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) announced a converged standard on the recognition of revenue from customer contracts.

The IASB, which is responsible for International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), and the FASB, responsible for Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) in the United States, jointly issued the new standard Wednesday, believing it will improve the financial reporting of revenue and improve comparability of the top line in financial statements globally.
 
Revenue is a metric for users of financial statements and is used to assess a company's financial performance and prospects. Previous international and American standards had different requirements, leading to different accounting for transactions that were considered economically similar.
 
The new, converged requirements for the recognition of revenue in both IFRS and U.S. GAAP provide enhancements to the quality and consistency of how revenue is reported while improving comparability in the financial statements of companies reporting both standards.
 
The core principle of the new standard is for companies to recognize revenue to depict the transfer of goods or services to customers in amounts that reflect the consideration, or payment, to which the company expects to be entitled in exchange for those goods or services.
 
The new standard will also result in enhanced disclosures about revenue, provide guidance for transactions that were not previously addressed comprehensively (for example, service revenue and contract modifications) and improve guidance for multiple-element arrangements.
 
The boards together consulted extensively with interested parties throughout the life cycle of the revenue project, receiving more than 1,500 comment letters further refining their proposals in response to that feedback.
 
The IASB and FASB have established a joint resource group in order to aid transition to the new standard.

CUNA remittances survey closes Monday

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WASHINGTON (5/30/14)--The Credit Union National Association has extended its comment deadline on the international remittance rule proposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Monday, from today's original deadline.
 
The CFPB's new rule would extend a temporary provision, which is set to expire July 21, 2015, by an additional five years. The provision permits federally insured credit unions and other depository institutions to estimate certain remittance pricing disclosures.
 
CUNA continues to advocate for improvements to the CFPB remittance rule for credit unions, including an exemption well over the 100 transfers per year that the current rule provides for. CUNA also has concerns that some credit unions have stopped or reduced remittance transfers, or are planning to do so, and that credit unions continue to experience compliance challenges. (See News Now May 14: Remittance rule comment deadline extended by 10 days.)
 
Use the resource link below to access CUNA's comment call.