OCEAN CITY, Md. — Small credit unions present an anomaly and a challenge for those that regulate them.
Most credit unions nationwide have experienced unusually high share growth since the economic downturn and corresponding consumers’ flight to safety that has tampered with their net worth. But credit unions under $10 million in assets are facing a very different problem and a very real threat: Shares are declining, according to NCUA Region II Director Jane Walters.
During a general session at the Maryland & D.C. Credit Union Association's annual conference last week, Walters noted that Maryland and Washington both have many small credit unions, as does Region II in general.
"Every year for the last five or six years, we've seen shares go down," the regulator said of small credit unions. So far in 2011, half of credit unions under $10 million in assets are losing shares.
While recognizing the resource challenges small credit unions face, she also lamented that the agency was not sure how to further assist smaller credit unions and invited suggestions. The NCUA offers special training workshops for small credit unions.
In response to a question on the matter, she said, "A lot of times, we have a lot of longtime managers who just don't want to change. Or we have boards that way."
Walters told the MDDCCUA that share growth for federally insured credit unions nationally is up around 7% annualized, and in Region II, it's up more than twice that at approximately 15%. Washington in particular has experienced share growth of about 8% annualized and Maryland is at around 13% share growth.
That share growth is demonstrated in the net worth ratios she provided, which are solidly near 10% nationally and in Region II, with Washington over 11% and Maryland nearing 10.5%. Back in 2007, the net worth nationwide was close to 11.5% for federally insured credit unions and Region II stood at 11%. At the same time, Washington was over 13% while Maryland was approaching that level. A key consideration in reviewing these numbers though is that California has since been added to the NCUA’s Region II to better deal with the economic crisis.
Maryland and D.C. credit unions’ ROA is below the national and regional averages of 0.74% and 0.87%, respectively. Maryland’s ROA sat at 0.42% and Washington credit unions’ reached 0.68%. All are on an upward trajectory.
And delinquencies were heading down for all except Washington, which experienced a slight uptick. Still delinquency levels for Maryland and Washington were below the regional and national averages as were charge-offs.
Walters Takes On ‘Problem’ Trend
Walters Takes On ‘Problem’ Trend
Because the NCUA has been experiencing increased insurance losses due to fraud, examiners are going to be taking a harder look at the general ledger, particularly in smaller shops.
"We don’t examine for fraud; that’s not what our job is," NCUA Region II Director Jane Walters asserted. "But that seems to be what our loss is in." As a result, in credit unions with just a few employees or less, examiners will be scrutinizing the general ledger more.
In 2010, there were 368 CAMEL 4 and 5 credit unions with an aggregate $43.8 billion in assets; 10 of those were over $1 billion in assets. CAMEL 3 credit unions grew to 1,827 by year-end 2010, $156.7 billion in assets and 23 of those were over $1 billion in assets.