In the rare instances when a credit union violates a law or regulation, the mission of the NCUA’s Office of Consumer Protection is “not to protect a credit union from its members,” but to serve as an advocate for the credit union member.
That’s how NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz explained the role of the office in a letter to NAFCU President/CEO Fred Becker.
She noted that in most of the complaints filed with the office so far, the credit union was deemed to have acted properly; and even so, as a goodwill gesture to the member they often reversed the action, such as returning an overdraft fee to a member.
However, Matz said when a credit union has acted improperly that if the institution doesn’t correct its mistake the agency will notify the credit union and the member. She also defended the agency’s practice of notifying a credit union’s supervisory committee of every complaint filed against the financial institution.
Matz was responding to a letter that Becker sent earlier this month in which he urged that the agency have only brief communications with credit union members who file complaints. He expressed concern that the office’s communications with a credit union member after receiving a response to a complaint about a credit union “could in some circumstances be harmful to the relationship between the credit union and the member.”