Dollar and Filson Urge Calm in Wake of NCUA Corporate Bailout Plan
Both urged calm and patience as alternative plans put forward by CUNA and other groups were being analyzed by the agency.
"The solutions to this current situation need to be well thought, considered from many perspectives, and implemented with enough lead time for the system to adjust if there are going to be significant changes," declared Dollar, head of Dollar Associates of Birmingham, Ala.
Regarding the premium assessment, he said, "It is indeed unfortunate that the natural person credit unions are having their 2009 income statements ruined to cover 2008 losses at U.S. Central and perhaps some other corporates."
"The frustration of credit unions about the premium assessment is as strong as I've ever seen," he added.
"I don't recall such a dramatically negative reaction to any NCUA action, including CapCorp and CAP during the D'Amours era, or when we went to quarterly call reporting for all credit unions during my tenure as NCUA Chairman," said Dollar. He noted that the "angst from my clients has been palpable, but we are encouraging them to remain calm to see how this issue matures over the weeks and months to come."
Chip Filson called recent NCUA actions, "well thought out, constructive and a foundation for the industry to build upon" but acknowledged industry responses "have ranged from outright anger to resignation."
Some CUs are simply accepting an eventual assessment as "just tell me how to make the accounting entries," said Filson, whose firm conducted two webinars for CUs during the last two weeks to help explain NCUA's stabilization package. Like other consulting agencies, the firm also issued several informational updates to help ease CU worries.
The very future of CU networking and structure could be in the balance while "the emotional energy runs high," observed Filson. He added, "This is a defining moment that can give new character and meaning to cooperatives."
"The NCUA Board has indicated that they are open to alternatives, and Congress has weighed in on the issue with a five-year recapitalization proposal and asking FASB to reconsider the mark-to-market rules that have driven some of these losses at U.S. Central and some corporates," observed Dollar.
"I know from my meetings and communications that the credit union community is currently looking at possible alternatives as well, including seeking TARP funds or utilizing the CLF in some guarantee capacity," he continued. "It may well prove that the premium is the best and least costly alternative, but other alternatives should be considered. The decision by NCUA not to formally collect the premium until September was a wise one in that it gives time for more careful evaluation of other alternatives or development of a clearer understanding of why the premium was the best alternative."
Filson acknowledged that "56 basis points is a heck of a one-time hit for any credit union" in connection with the NCUA's $1 billion bailout of U.S. Central FCU, "but it is much too early to tell if that capital will be used to cover losses."
"But," he continued "if that initial estimate proves relatively accurate, it will mean that the credit union system lost about 5% of its net worth during this financial meltdown. Is there any other financial organization, or any individual, that can say they endured only a 5% diminution in value in 2008?"