ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The NCUA giveth and the NCUA taketh away.
At its Dec. 15 meeting the agency’s board proposed placing more restrictions on loan participations while granting credit unions greater flexibility in other areas.
Federally insured credit unions could only purchase loan participations from a single originator totaling no more than 25% of the credit union's net worth, according to a proposed rule the board sent out for a 60-day comment period.
The rule also would limit loan participation purchases involving one borrower to 15% of the credit union's net worth.
There is no waiver provision for the 25% limit, but the 15% limit can be waived by a regional director of the agency.
Any loan participation agreement must contain a provision requiring the originating lender to keep at least a 10% interest in the loan throughout the loan’s duration.
The agency said that these proposed limits take into account that the credit union buying a loan participation doesn’t directly manage the risks associated with the loan.
The NCUA said it is including state-chartered federally insured credit unions in the rule because in recent years they have had a higher level of losses in participation loans than federal credit unions.
On regulatory flexibility, the board sent out for comment a proposed rule to expand some of the exemptions to certain regulations currently limited to CAMEL 1 and 2 credit unions to all federal credit unions.
The proposal, which is subject to a 60-day comment period, includes the right of all federal credit unions to make charitable contributions outside their field of membership; accept up to 20% of their total shares or $3 million (whichever is higher) in nonmember deposits; take up to six years to partially occupy unimproved property they have purchased; and purchase zero-coupon investments with maturity dates up to 10 years. CAMEL 1 and 2 institutions can purchase those investments with maturity dates up to 30 years.
The board also issued an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking to request public comment on whether to issue a regulation mandating that federally insured credit unions have access to backup federal liquidity sources for use in a financial emergency.
The agency is considering requiring those institutions to show their access by membership in the Central Liquidity Facility directly or through a corporate credit union; obtaining and maintaining access to the Federal Reserve’s discount window; or maintaining a percentage of their assets in liquid Treasury securities.
Larry Fazio, director of the agency’s Office of Examination and Insurance, said the change is needed because U.S. Central Corporate Credit Union, which is how many credit unions have accessed the CLF, is being wound down. He also said that as of June 30, only 1.2% of federally insured credit unions have direct membership in the CLF and only 4.5% of credit unions have access to the Fed’s discount window.
There is a 60-day comment period.
The board also approved a series of technical corrections to its regulations regarding corporate credit unions, including revising the definition of net assets to exclude subscriptions in the Central Liquidity Facility.
The board also approved a request from Henrico FCU to expand its community charter from one county to all counties and municipalities in the Richmond, Va. metropolitan statistical area. The Henrico, Va.-based credit union has assets of $119 million.
NCUA CFO Mary Ann Woodson told the board that the NCUSIF has had a net income of $374.9 million this year, including $7.3 million in November. When the agency made its projections last year, it predicted a $512.3 million loss during the first 11 months of 2011.
The fund’s income was $136.9 million in September and has been $367.6 million this year. When the agency prepared the budget last year, during a much more difficult economic climate, the fund was projected to lose $465 million during the first nine months of 2011.
At the end of November, 3.58% of insured shares were in CAMEL 4 and 5 credit unions, compared with 3.89% at the end of October and 5.13% at the end of last year.
As of Nov. 30, 16.13% of insured shares were in CAMEL 3 credit unions, compared with 15.87% at the end of October and 18.26% at the end of last year.