Lack of Accounting Guidance Irritates CUs
Stephen Bentley, president/CEO of the $18 million Upper Valley Credit Union, said he wrote off 100% of premium and impairment charges before March 31, but said the charge destroyed progress he and his board had made to build capital.
"From an ROA standpoint, we were one of the better performers last year, but we were just beginning to make progress to correct a situation we inherited six years ago," he said. The New Hampshire community credit union located near the Vermont border had spent some of that hard-earned capital last year on a new computer system and facilities, and felt confident doing so because capital was still above 7% and the credit union could still absorb growth.
"Then boom, this thing came up, and in one shot, it put us back to where we were," he said. "It was a huge hammer over the head for us, because everything we've worked so hard to achieve for the past six years was flushed down the toilet."
Tracie Kenyon, president/CEO of the Montana CU Network, said her members are most concerned about recording share insurance fund charges.
"They have been very worried about the fluidity of the situation, that it could change tomorrow or next week or in a few months," she said.
Paula Nihoff, president/CEO of the $48 million HealthCare First Credit Union, said she took the share insurance premium, but didn't write down any impairment. She said she's frustrated by a lack of accounting guidance from the NCUA, who told her to consult with her CPA.
"My CPA told me if you write it down, you can't write it back up," Nihoff said. "I don't know how you can write down something that shouldn't be volatile in the first place. It's an insurance fund. Why is that money at risk? And until the NCUA actually pays out a claim, why should I have to pay for that?"
White Rose Credit Union President/CEO Brad Warner said he booked 51% of impairment charges and 30 basis points worth of contingent loss as of Dec. 31, with the rest taken in first quarter 2009.
"It's difficult to get procedures from the NCUA, and they're not in place to this day," Warner said. "That 18-point increase came as a surprise to us because we had already the previous charges approved with the board."