WASHINGTON (4/25/08)—The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) said it does not support any new regulations suggested by a National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) on credit union corporate governance issues.
The NCUA has requested comments on whether new regulations are needed on a range of issues such as mergers, conversions, private insurance and related topics.
"This is one of the most significant comment letters CUNA will file this year," said CUNA Deputy General Counsel Mary Dunn. "Comments are not due until April 30 and we encouraged leagues and credit unions to weigh in with NCUA to oppose new regulations as we have done."
In January, the NCUA approved an advanced noticed of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) with proposals to amend its rules to more clearly define a credit union board's fiduciary duties in the face of major decisions, such as mergers or conversions to mutual thrifts.
In an April 18 comment letter to the agency, CUNA said it feels "very strongly" that credit unions need more regulatory relief, not additional constraints and that agency action on mergers and conversions is unwarranted at this time.
CUNA said the proposals would "needlessly intrude in the operations of credit union boards." Instead, CUNA recommended the NCUA consider "carefully crafted and circumscribed guidance on a very limited number of issues," such as communications with the members of a target credit union in a "hostile" takeover situation.
"We urge NCUA to work with CUNA and the credit union system in the development of such guidelines," the letter said, adding that CUNA would also like a role in future discussions on whether an appropriate standard could be developed on the scope of fiduciary duties of federal credit union board members.
The CUNA letter acknowledged efforts by the NCUA to provide some regulatory relief through its annual review of its regulations and initiatives, and urged the regulator to also review how the examination process could be improved.
"Federally insured credit unions are feeling besieged under the regulatory encumbrances they face daily," CUNA wrote. While not all of the burden is the result of NCUA-driven regulations—Bank Secrecy Act requirements play a huge role—CUNA noted that the NCUA has, in fact, adopted or proposed a number of initiatives in recent months.
"Further, credit unions across the country are increasingly raising concern about over-zealous examiners on a number of issues."
CUNA also warned that BSA compliance and negative examiner responses to reasonable efforts to assist members with mortgage workout plans are among the escalating concerns of credit unions.
courtesy of cuna.org