What the trade associations and certain credit union leaders can't accomplish, President Obama and Congress might be able to achieve.
That is, get the NCUA to not raise the salaries of its employees next year.
President Obama is asking Congress to pass a two-year wage freeze for all civilian employees of executive branch departments. It's not certain whether Congress will also include independent regulatory agencies, such as the NCUA, in the legislation. If not, the agency could decide to follow the lead of other government agencies in light of the economic and budget problems.
NCUA Director of Public and Congressional Affairs John McKechnie said the agency is waiting for additional information on the proposal from the two government agencies responsible for it-the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management-before deciding on a course of action.
The Obama administration contends the freeze would save $5 billion over two years. The annual deficit is $1.3 trillion.
"The hard truth is that getting this deficit under control is going to require some broad sacrifice, and that sacrifice must be shared by employees of the federal government," Obama said when unveiling the wage-freeze proposal.
Congressional Republicans have been urging the wage freeze since earlier this year, and some even want the government to freeze new hiring as well. The GOP will take control of the House in January, but the Democrats will keep control of the Senate.
The $225.4 million budget approved by the NCUA for 2011 includes a 6.1% pay raise for employees covered by the collective bargaining agreement. That covers 80% of the agency's employees, and that three-year contract is up for renegotiation next year. The remaining 20% of employees are slated to receive a 3% increase, which was approved by the NCUA board.
CUNA and NAFCU both criticized the salary increases.