The head of Georgia Credit Union Affiliates weighed in on the growing national concern over examiner shortages citing frustrations over mandated cutbacks and funding inequities.
Looking at regulation in his own state, Michael Mercer, president/CEO maintained the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance "has done everything in its power to avoid taking examiners out of the field while the state tries to balance its budget" and yet examiner reductions have occurred.
And on that "the frustrating thing is DBF collects substantially more in the way of fees from financial institutions than it gets to spend for examination and supervision staff," said Mercer asked by Credit Union Times to comment on revelations that DBF is leaving vacant six examiner jobs, the result of Gov. Sonny Perdue's order to cut payroll in state agencies.
The lamentable fact of the reduction, said Mercer, is that the agency's 61-examiner staff has "tremendous experience that has been gained over many years of service."
Disclosure of the examiner vacancies comes as the state grapples with an ongoing run of bank failures-32 in the last two years and the highest such number in the country.
The loss of examiners amid the failure rate impacting community banks and causing a merger rush has drawn criticism from the Georgia Bankers Association complaining that "now is not the time to cut the examiner staff." Meanwhile, Robert Braswell, the head of DBF said while CUs have undergone large losses, the financial condition of CUs has remained stable.