CAMEL Disclosure: SECU's Blaine Says NCUA ‘Declared War on the Innocent’
While NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz holds the agency’s ground, the man who started the scrap says the feds are “beating up” the state’s credit unions, while a colleague urged Matz to come down and settle the matter.
Jim Blaine, president/CEO of the $23.7 billion State Employees’ Credit Union in Raleigh, lashed out at the NCUA for the dual examinations it began imposing in recent weeks in reaction to SECU disclosing its CAMEL rating, with state permission, last October.
“It is hard for North Carolina state-chartered credit unions to be pleased with anybody in this matter when they are being beaten up by NCUA without justification,” Blaine said Thursday.
He added that the NCUA has “declared war on the innocent,” which he said “is and has been a problem for the last several years nationwide, for both state and federal credit unions.”
Also Thursday, the head of the state’s second-largest state-chartered credit union, Martin Eakes at the $550 million Self-Help CU in Durham, called the NCUA move an over-reaction and urged NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz – who accused N.C. regulators of “violating the trust” and forcing the dual examinations – to visit the state to help resolve the dispute.
“Look, I really don’t care one way or the other about CAMEL disclosures and let me stress that we’re talking about state-released CAMEL ratings, not federal, but the big point in all this mess is the huge over-reaction by NCUA so severely penalizing state-chartered credit unions,” Eakes said Thursday.
“She ought to make her plans now,” Eakes said, to help settle the dispute and prevent what he said would be further damage to the dual charter system.
He also suggested that the whole fracas could have been avoided through a DOR directed simply to SECU rather than involving the entire state system.
It seemed obvious that the agency did an end around on that score because it apparently lacked legal authority, said Eakes, an attorney.
Other North Carolina CEOs have voiced similar sentiments puzzled as to why NCUA, as one put it, “didn’t simply issue the cease and desist rather than dragging us all into this.”
Blaine, meanwhile, said evidence of the NCUA’s strategy was evident in testimony before Congress last week by NCUA Executive Director David Marquis regarding state actions.
Marquis cited the “chilling” effect on release of CAMEL ratings and the state agency move authorizing SECU’s CAMEL disclosure, a point echoed Wednesday by Matz in a Washington “town hall” meeting where Matz accused the North Carolina Credit Union Division of failing to honor NCUA policies and violating the “sacred trust” that allowed the NCUA to rely on state examiners.
The NCUA clampdown has resulted in the start of dual exams at the 52 state-chartered credit unions in North Carolina, sparking complaints from several CEOs at the affected institutions.
A response from the NCUA on Eakes’ and Blaine’s remarks was not immediately available.
Jerrie Jay, administrator of the state’s Credit Union Division, said she had seen the Matz comments critical of her in an agency press release but for the moment would like to “see the entire town hall webinar first” before responding.
Agency officials said the webinar transcript would likely get posted in two weeks.