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WASHINGTON-With the scrutinizing of accounting practices and regulations in the wake of several scandals involving “new math,” lawmakers and regulators are looking to clean up the mess and tighten oversight of accounting. In response, CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Committee has created an Accounting Task Force (ATF) to help credit unions understand and respond to accounting issues. “Accounting issues have been more and more at the forefront in terms of concerns for credit unions,” CUNA Associate General Counsel Mary Dunn said. While CUNA has been studying these issues, including current items like interest to nonresident aliens, federal credit union employee retirement benefits, and allowance of loan/lease loss (ALLL), the group’s expertise will focus solely on accounting related subject matter. The final ALLL regulation is of some concern to CUNA and credit unions regarding exactly what is expected of credit unions. NCUA officials have agreed to be on CUNA’s conference call on the subject. Dunn said no one particular problem or issue prompted the coordinating of the group. She simply explained, “Accounting, as we go forward, is going to be more important in the lives of every business.” The task force, which will continue operations as accounting issues arise unlike the typical task force, was created to help guard against over-regulation in a knee-jerk reaction to the Enron/Arthur Andersen debacle and others, as well as to counsel CUNA on what accounting initiatives the trade organization should pursue. The ATF will meet at least once or twice a quarter at the call of the chair, Dunn said. CUNA CFO Council Chairman Scott Waite, CFO of Patelco Credit Union in San Francisco and recently named the first credit union representative to the Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council, will head up the task force. Other members include CFO of Fort Belvoir FCU Frank Vassallo; State Employees CU (Mich.) CFO Brian McVeigh; Jim Regan, CFO of Digital FCU in Marlborough, Mass.; River City FCU President and CEO Watt Prichard; President and CEO of 66 FCU Kelly Diven; Hawaiian Tel Employees FCU President Norman Okimoto (also president of the Hawaii Society of CPAs); and Ron Parker, CPA and partner at Clifton Gunderson in Tucson, Ariz.

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