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Washington Archive

Washington

CUNA seeks CU input for GAO on IRS, tax refunds

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WASHINGTON (2/19/14)--Credit unions that provide tax refunds and/or work with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service on issues like identity theft can provide much-needed information through a new Credit Union National Association survey. The U.S. Government Accountability Office--the investigative arm of the U.S. Congress--has specifically asked CUNA for details on the tax topics.

The CUNA survey asks:
  • Does your credit union currently provide tax refund loans?
  • Does your credit union work with the IRS on suspected identity theft fraud issues, including with their External Leads program to return questionable tax refunds?
  • Do you have any recommendations on how the IRS could further combat identity fraud with financial institutions?
There is a fairly short turn-around time for the CUNA request. Survey results will be accepted until Feb. 24.

Responses also will be used to enhance CUNA advocacy efforts on tax-related topics.

For the CUNA survey, use the resource link.

Positive CU work with students noted in CFPB blog

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WASHINGTON (2/19/14)--The efforts of a Madison, Wis, credit union to develop long-term member relationships by offering low-cost financial products to students was cited in a recent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau blog post as an example of the right way to do things.

The CFPB post also linked to that credit union's letter to the bureau, in which UW CU noted that more than 85% of accounts opened by University of Wisconsin students remained open after those accountholders graduated.

The credit union offers checking accounts, debit/ATM cards, savings accounts, online and mobile services, free credit scores, low-cost reserve lines of credit and financial education resources to students and other members. 

UW CU said its strategies and business practices "demonstrate the positive contribution to student success that is possible in a partnership with a campus-based financial institution." Improving the financial well-being of student members is within the core mission of UW CU, the credit union added.

The credit union's positive work with students was noted in a broader post about the practices of some institutions that offer accounts to students.

The CFPB post also discussed the  "potentially risky practice of not readily disclosing arrangements with colleges and universities to market bank accounts, prepaid cards, debit cards, and other financial products to students."

Examples of these agreements highlighted in the blog post include:
  • Agreements in which a financial institution offers a licensing fee in order to use a school's logo to market its financial products;
  • Agreements that provide bonus payments based on whether students sign up for a financial institution's student checking account marketed on campus; and
  • Agreements in which some colleges receive discounted--or even completely free--financial services in exchange for allowing a provider to market products to students.
For the full CFPB blog post, use the resource link.

NCUA receives clean audits for permanent funds(1)

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (2/19/14)--The National Credit Union Administration announced Tuesday that its four permanent funds received clean audits for 2013.

The audits, which were performed by KPMG LLP, cover the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, the NCUA's Operating Fund, the Central Liquidity Facility and the Community Development Revolving Loan Fund. The NCUSIF totaled $11.6 billion as of Dec. 31, 2013.

"The clean opinions from our independent auditors after their audits of the financial statements for the four permanent funds again demonstrate the diligence with which these funds are managed," NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz said.

"By making the complete financial reports public, we are living up to our commitments to provide transparency to credit unions and their members," she added.

A quarterly report on the NCUSIF will be released at Thursday's NCUA open board meeting.

An auditor opinion on 2013 Temporary Corporate Credit Union Stabilization Fund financial statements should be released in March, the agency said. That fund earned a clean audit opinion for 2012.

Rep. Holt, CU tax-status supporter, to retire this year

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WASHINGTON (2/19/14)--Credit union tax-status supporter Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) will not run for reelection this year.

The congressman, who has held his seat since 1999, said he made his decision to retire from the U.S. House for both personal and professional reasons. The legislator entered his name in a Senate special election primary last year. That Senate seat was eventually won by fellow Democrat Cory Booker (D-N.J.).

Holt last year spoke in favor of the continuation of the federal tax exemption for the nation's credit unions.

"He always has and will continue to support the credit union tax exemption because credit unions provide needed and valued services in our local communities," his staff said in a response to a New Jersey Credit Union League survey.