NASCUS Reserve Examiners Program Stands Ready to Help State Agencies
ARLINGTON, Va. - Members of the NASCUS Reserve Examiner Program, a group of retired state examiners, are waiting for the call to help out state agencies affected by Hurricane Katrina. Barbara Pogue, director, accreditation and membership for NASCUS and who oversees the program for the association, said "to my knowledge" so far the credit union regulatory agencies in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi have not asked NASCUS for assistance yet although NASCUS has notified the state agencies of the Reserve Examiner Program resources. At NASCUS' Quarterly Regulator's Conference Call on Sept. 19, regulators from more than 35 state agencies had the opportunity to speak directly with the regulators in the affected areas and continue to offer assistance. Deputy Commissioner Doris Gunn of the Louisiana Office of Financial Regulation, and Commissioner John Allison of the Mississippi Department of Banking and Consumer Finance, provided updates on the status of the agencies, credit unions and operations in the affected areas, and both expressed appreciation for the outpouring of assistance from their regulator peers. Meanwhile, NASCUS applauded states' Katrina relief efforts and encouraged the continued flexibility of federal and state agencies in meeting the "unique" financial needs of Hurricane Katrina victims. State agencies have offered many resources to the affected regulatory agencies including computers, office space in surrounding states, office supplies and manpower. NASCUS President Mary Martha Fortney said state and federal regulators have responded quickly to the immediate needs of Katrina victims. "They are doing an excellent job of providing the much needed flexibility to ensure financial needs of victims are met, while at the same time protecting safety and soundness," she said. State regulators nationwide have issued emergency declarations and guidances to ensure that Hurricane Katrina evacuees residing in their states are provided with financial services. The regulators have waived fees, offered special term loans and eased restrictions on check cashing and non-member services. NASCUS also recommends state regulators and credit unions to reference the guidances released by federal agencies, including the NCUA, FDIC and FinCEN regarding compliance and servicing members in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.