NASCUS eyes SCCU system representation on NCUA Board; NAFCU "strongly opposes"
ARLINGTON, Va. - Remarks made by NASCUS Chairwoman Jerrie Lattimore, administrator of the North Carolina Credit Union Division at the NASCUS Annual Conference concerning state representation on the NCUA Board have made NAFCU sit up and take notice. The comments in question by Lattimore were made at a NASCUS Chairman/Council Chairman lunch on the second day of the association's annual conference in New Orleans. Using the occasion to review the four targets the NASCUS Regulator Board and Council board set in June, the fourth target Lattimore discussed was state representation on the NCUA Board. Rhetorically asking why would state's want that, Lattimore enumerated a few reasons: * "There is no one on the NCUA Board that is looking out for state-chartered credit unions"; * "There is no one that is asking each and every day how will this decision impact state regulators and state credit unions"; * There is no one on the NCUA Board suggesting board members consult with state credit unions, examiners or regulators on issues concerning the Overhead Transfer Rate; * There's no state representative on the board to question how the OTR is calculated or spent "or even authorized"; * There's no one on the board questioning whether it is an insurance or regulatory matter. Considering that, according to NASCUS, 42% of all credit unions are state-chartered, and 91% of all SCCUs are federally insured, NASCUS President Doug Duerr said, "There's a sense among the NASCUS leadership that the interests of the state-chartered credit union system aren't adequately represented when the NCUA Board meets and makes decisions." He cited as examples of issues that affect state-chartered CUs and are decided on by NCUA the overhead transfer rate, which rules apply to federally-insured state-chartered credit unions, and when there should be exceptions to NCUA rules for FISCCUs. "The entire public has the opportunity to comment and raise consideration to NCUA proposed rules when the agency invites comment letter, but there's still the sense among the NASCUS leadership that there needs to be a better vehicle," said Duerr. At this time, Duerr said the NASCUS Board and NASCUS Council Board haven't decided on the form of any increase in SCCU-system representation on the NCUA Board might take nor is the leadership ready to propose a solution. He noted though, that there is a congressional precedent on the deposit insurance side for state representation on the board of a federal regulator. Specifically, in the early 1990's, the FDIC was statutorily required to have one of its board members have experience as a state bank regulator. In addition, said Duerr, Congressman Bob Barr (R-Ga.) in two Congresses introduced legislation requiring one NCUA Board member have state credit union regulatory experience. Duerr is aware that any NCUA requirement could not simply mirror the FDIC statutory requirement, "since the NCUA is different from the FDIC and we could not simply pluck something out of the air and say this is a perfect fit." He added that it would be "premature" to say such an action would require an act of Congress. "The NASCUS leadership has to research its options and the legal implications of different approaches," said Duerr. "Whether it would take an act of Congress or a statutory change will depend on what the leadership determines is the best solution." NAFCU though already knows what the best solution is, and that is: no change in the structure of the NCUA Board. "NAFCU has and continues to strongly oppose any change in the current structure of the NCUA Board," said NAFCU President Fred Becker. "NAFCU and the credit union community were successful in derailing an attempt to change the composition of the NCUA Board during consideration of banking legislation in 1991 and we will remain vigilant on this front in the future." As for the requisite qualifications for NCUA Board members, Becker added: "We believe that the current qualifications for board members as set out in statute is more than adequate as it includes emphasis in considering individuals who can relate to financial services, regulation and policy. Seems like that is an inclusive criteria for a number of individuals in the credit union world, regardless of specific experience. I believe Board Member Johnson started out her appointment process by logging onto the White House Web site where it states that President Bush is looking for individuals who have the greatest ability and highest ethical and professional integrity. While these procedures might change from administration to administration, it is apparent that anyone could have applied similar to JoAnn and have been considered." -firstname.lastname@example.org