Fryzel Focuses on the Future, Eyes Town Halls on Corporates
Addressing CU executives attending NAFCU's 42nd Annual Conference here, Fryzel ended his comments last Wednesday with the observation that his almost sure successor, former NCUA Board Member and credit union executive Deborah Matz, was appearing before the Senate Banking Committee at the same hour.
He told the attendees that he had met with Matz to discuss the agency's agenda and immediate future plans. He said that Matz was in agreement with his proposal that the NCUA host three town hall meetings in the fall to let credit unions offer their ideas and opinions on what sorts of changes the agency should make to its corporate credit union regulations.
The meetings are tentatively scheduled for Washington, Chicago and California. He did not name a specific location in California and estimated the meetings would take place in September and October.
"These are your corporate credit unions and you should have a say" in the new rules, Fryzel told attendees.
The NCUA hopes the meetings will allow credit unions to tell the agency what CUs need and want from their corporate credit unions. In the wake of the events of this past year, Fryzel told the executives, the NCUA is looking at corporate credit unions' structure, size, products, services and governance.
Speaking of the events at the corporate credit unions, especially WesCorp and U.S. Central, Fryzel said the NCUA's examiners and staff "lacked the expertise" to adequately question and evaluate some of the securities that underpinned some of the investments that the corporate credit unions were making.
That lack of expertise, Fryzel explained, had been why the NCUA needed to bring in Clayton Fixed Income Services and Pimco to evaluate the securities that were on the corporate credit unions' books.
Fryzel, who oversaw the agency though what he described as "the most difficult year" in the century-long history of credit unions, reiterated his desire to look forward several times during the meeting when confronted with questioners whose emotions about the events of the past year still seemed a little raw.
One questioner noted, pointedly, that corporates had taken responsibility for the events as had natural person credit unions. What, the executive wanted to know was: Would anyone from the NCUA take responsibility for their part in what happened?
Fryzel replied that the NCUA official who had been responsible for overseeing corporate credit unions had been moved away from that area and that the examiners who used to work in the NCUA offices at WesCorp and U.S. Central had also been moved to other responsibilities.
Fryzel pointed out that at the time the investments were made, no one had any questions about them, adding that their yields at the time made them very popular and that their weaknesses had only shown up over time.
Fryzel began his remarks with effusive praise for NAFCU's role in helping pull the corporate stabilization plan together.
"When the Corporate Stabilization Plan was devised and readied for presentation to Capitol Hill, NAFCU stepped forward, talked to the right lawmakers at the right time, and helped us get the job done," he told the attendees to scattered applause. "Your ideas and suggestions were sound, your approach positive, and the results you helped achieve are a testament to the skills that NAFCU brings to the table."