NCUA officials and a CUNA representative agreed the agency’s first listening session in Boston Wednesday produced good questions, interactive dialogue and no confrontational situations.
It was “beyond civil,” said CUNA Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Mary Dunn, who attended the event along with 94 others, in which the regulator solicited feedback regarding how NCUA can improve the exam process and reduce regulatory burden.
“But were credit unions holding back? I think probably some were, but there were some really good questions asked,” Dunn said.
She added that she feels there’s “no question that there is some anger out there among credit unions,” but said she was told by those in attendance that the session was a positive step in the right direction.
NCUA Senior Strategic Communications and External Relations Advisor Buddy Gill also attended the event, and called those in attendance a good group and said he thinks the agency was pleased with the dialogue.
Gill said there wasn’t one particular issue that dominated the question and answer session. Topics discussed at the event covered NCUA’s new interest rate risk policy, member business lending regulations, the exam appeal process, overdrafts and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Sharing positives along with negatives during exams was one interesting suggestion, he said.
“We do train on it,” Gill said. “(Examiners) are supposed to do that, provide a balanced message.”
Gill also recalled a question about allowing credit unions to prescribe their own solutions to exam issues rather than have examiners dictate them.
Dunn said she found that question intriguing as well, and said she was pleased with the agency’s response.
“The NCUA wasn’t suggesting an examiner cave in to the credit union, but there is definitely a recognition that there has to be a professional relationship and better communication, and probably at the heart of these issues has been a lack of good communication,” Dunn said. The CUNA rep said NCUA Office of Examination and Insurance Director Larry Fazio told credit unions the communication should not occur only during the exam, but be on going, and there should be no surprises on either side.
Carrie Hunt, NAFCU general counsel and vice president of regulatory affairs, did not attend the session, but said she has visited with NAFCU members who were there.
“We think it’s positive that NCUA is having these discussions, and of course we want to work with the agency to see positive change come out of it, as opposed to just discussion,” Hunt said. “We will be participating with members in all listening sessions, continuing to work toward the mutual goal of protecting the share insurance fund and providing credit unions with regulatory relief.”