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WASHINGTON-CUNA wrote a letter in strong opposition to the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s recent proposal to review its Financial Accounting Statement 140, Accounting for Transfers and Service of Financial Assets and Extinguishments of Liabilities. “Participations are important financial and management tools that are increasingly used by credit unions, and by other financial institutions, to control interest rate risk, credit risk, balance sheet growth, and maintain net worth,” CUNA’s official comment letter read. “Participations enable credit unions to utilize assets to make more credit available to their membership than they would be able to do without the use of loan participations.” Specifically, FASB expressed concerns about loan participations-in which the borrower has deposits at the originating institution-and the liquidation of that institution could preclude the “loan participation” institution from recovering the pro rata portion of the members’ deposits within the originating institution that are “setoff.” According to CUNA, sufficient safeguards already exist to address these concerns and no changes are necessary. CUNA also informed FASB of its opposition to requiring institutions to run participations through “qualified special purpose entities” to receive a true sale treatment due to the unnecessary financial burden. “Further, it would drastically limit the ability of credit unions to provide low-cost, economical financing for their membership through loan participations,” the letter read. Additionally, instead of adopting a one-size-fits-all approach, CUNA recommended that FASB take into consideration provisions included in participation agreements that help alleviate the accounting group’s concerns.

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