Two ad hoc industry groups, one in Michigan and the other in Tennessee, which have been among the most vocal in stirring criticism of NCUA policies on corporates, salaries and assessments, said this week their stands are unchanged.
The Michigan contingent, however, which first began circulating an online petition last December calling for agency overhaul and Congressional scrutiny to avoid industry “disaster”, said its viral petition drive is mostly over.
“I think the online permit may have expired,” declared Randy Karnes, president/CEO of CU* Answers, a Grand Rapids, Mich. CUSO and leader of the Michigan group.
Meanwhile, a Knoxville-based group of CU executives echoed that theme with its own “Declaration of Grievances” harshly critical of NCUA policies and calling for change by lobbying Congress for swift action to prevent “catastrophe” to the industry.
The Knoxville group started with 45 signatories “and today we have 91,” said its coordinator, David W. Proffitt, CEO of the $169 million Alcoa Tenn FCU, noting that the group is now focusing attention on proposals now circulating in the industry to vastly overhaul the agency, including separating chartering and insurance functions from a coop-owned central liquidity unit.
“We are now getting behind the proposal by Chip Filson of Callahan & Associates,” said Proffitt pointing to a series of online client newsletters in which the Callahan head advocates a breakup of the NCUA with a separate Office of Credit Union Administration under the Treasury Department similar to national banks’ Office of the Comptroller.
In the broader picture, Proffitt said again that “the leadership at NCUA appears to be more entrenched than ever in creating regulatory burdens for credit unions and I point most recently to Chairman Matz’ praise of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”
In its grassroots advocacy and seven-page “Declaration of Grievances” issued last April, the Proffitt group argued NCUA’s corporate losses should not be foisted on individual CUs “and their members” when “NCUA was the responsible agency.”
Moreover, “the treatment given by NCUA towards credit unions through this ordeal has been a tidal wave of NCUA directives, regulations and fee assessments that is draining our member taxpayer assets and income to operate and grow. This must be stopped,” urged the Tennessee committee.
For his part, Karnes said while collection of petition signatures “has now run its course,” his group’s efforts helped spur the “communication and the conversations providing an impetus for people to speak out more freely about how the NCUA acts.”
The dialogue has brought new focus to such issues as NCUA’s new CUSO regulations and the prepayment assessment proposal, which the agency put on hold Tuesday when credit union commitments fell short.
Asked for comment on the petition drives, an NCUA spokesman said the agency “appreciates the feedback it receives” as it “works to engage many audiences.”
“Such two-way communication is effective in regulating credit unions and protecting the safety and soundness of the system,” the spokesman said.