The NCUA Office of Inspector General has determined that the agency’s regional director did not make false statements about the nation’s second largest credit union in a dispute best known for resulting in the NCUA imposing dual examinations on state-chartered North Carolina credit unions.
The OIG’s ruling in favor of Herbert Yolles, Region 3 director, came after an investigation requested by Jim Blaine, president/CEO of the $24 billion State Employees’ Credit Union of Raleigh.
Blaine last fall publicly released his credit union’s CAMEL rating, kicking off the public part of the fray between the two regulators and the state-chartered credit unions. The NCUA said Blaine’s move, made with the approval of state regulators, threatened the safety of the NCUSIF and violated the federal agency’s trust in its North Carolina counterparts.
In February, Blaine had asked the OIG to review statements Yolles had made in a Dec. 6 letter to Jerrie Jay, administrator of the N.C. Credit Union Division.
In that letter, Yolles said Jay had announced in a Sept. 19 meeting with NCUA administrators and the full SECU board that the NCUA had begun the process of terminating NCUSIF insurance, and that Blaine had been improperly provided confidential NCUA exam documents by the state.
The OIG report to be released Wednesday shows that the dispute actually dates back to at least mid-2010, and that the draft Document of Resolution that the NCUA said was a confidential exam document had been prematurely and improperly shared with Blaine by Jay or someone else at her office.
The OIG report outlines the agency’s belief that Blaine, in a July 2010 meeting with regulators, was reading from the document. The North Carolinians said it was a different document, the OIG report said, but the OIG agreed with Yolles that the draft DOR had indeed been improperly provided by the NCCUD to the SECU CEO.
The 11-page OIG report also describes letters and dialogue between Yolles and Jay at the Sept. 19 meeting, the third in in 15 months between the SECU Board and NCUA officials to discuss an NCUA insurance review. Both sides taped the conversation, which the OIG said shows Jay trying to get Yolles to say that the NCUSIF was going to quit insuring share accounts at SECU.
“We don’t have a hidden agenda here of trying to find a way to terminate insurance. You’re the one,” Yolles is quoted in the transcript as saying at one point. Jay counters that previous comments made by the federal regulator in a July 14 letter were the first step towards such a move.
The OIG report rejected Blaine’s assertion that Jay did not announce that the NCUA was going to withdraw the insurance.
“An objective consideration of Jay’s voice inflection throughout the exchange with Yolles could also lead a reasonable listener to conclude Jay was strategically attempting to extract from Yolles an admission that NCUA’s intention – albeit unstated – was to withdraw share insurance from SECU (if it had not already begun to do so,” the OIG report said.
“ … Jay appears to be questioning Yolles about NCUA’s actual or prospective intentions, much in the manner of a cross examination and not necessarily making an unequivocal pronouncement that NCUA had in fact initiated the termination process,” the report said.
The OIG report also contained new information about the subsequent release of the CAMEL score by SECU, which Blaine said was done for the sake of transparency. The NCUA crackdown included not only separate examinations but the agency said it “would no longer provide computers or training to the NCCUD and would begin directly processing quarterly Call Reports from NC state-chartered credit unions.”