NCUA, which for months has come in for sharp industry attacks on its corporate and assessment policies, was the object of more heat this week from an ad hoc group of 32 CEOs and credit union executives submitting a complaining petition to Congressional committees.
The group, calling itself the “Credit Union Committee on Declaration of Grievances” and listing its complaints in a seven-page letter, demanded lawmakers “make needed changes” and bring NCUA under tighter control.
The grievances covered a broad range and also took other federal agencies to task for excessive regulation. They hit particularly hard at the 8% increase for NCUA employees and what it said is a 12% overall agency budget increase coming at a time when the rest of the country undergoes “recession and sacrifice.”
The petition also cites failures by the agency in general industry oversight and in providing “adequate supervision of the ‘wholesale’ corporate” network, which it argued has put a huge financial burden on CUs and their members.
Signers of the petition, formally submitted March 4 to the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, include CEOs and senior managers from a host of small and medium-sized CUs in Tennessee, North Carolina and Ohio.
“We are simply a group that collaborated because we all were fed up, feeling strongly that something needed to be said and done,” said Becca Montgomery, president/CEO of the $36 million Covenant Health CU of Knoxville.
She said many of the signers are CEOs and executives from Knoxville area CUs who have been meeting online for more than a month to write the petition coordinated by management of the $136 million Alcoa Tenn FCU. The informal group has since solicited petition signers “who share our views” from outside Tennessee, said Montgomery.
“One thing I can’t understand is how NCUA can spend $2 million for that Suze Orman ad campaign and then hit us with those assessments,” said Montgomery.
Taking note of the latest petition effort was Callahan & Associates of Washington, whose CEO Chip Filson informed clients in an email that distribution had included both CUNA and NAFCU. Filson also quoted a secondary source suggesting more names would have been included except for fear of retribution “for publicly expressing their concern about NCUA’s regulatory overkill.”
Randy Karnes, president/CEO of CU*Answers, a Grand Rapids, Mich. CUSO and author of a similar petition circulating online since last December, said he was aware of the Tennessee drive “after I read what appeared in Callahan,” but there is no connection between the two groups. The Karnes petition has more than 107 signatures, 40 anonymous.
Karnes said his petition remains posted on a website and “is still percolating” but active signer solicitations have stopped.