Federally chartered credit unions with fewer than $10 million in assets and a CAMEL rating of three or better can expect shorter annual exams and streamlined exam reports, thanks to the NCUA’s Small Credit Union Examination Program.
The federal regulator outlined the SCUEP program in a recent letter to credit unions, which can be found on the NCUA’s website.
“As part of the SCUEP, the agency is allocating only 40 hours per well managed credit union. This relieved burden reflects a reduced scope aimed at focusing on the most pertinent areas of risk in small credit unions – lending, recordkeeping, internal audit functions, etc.,” said Chairman Debbie Matz in the letter.
The program is a first step in the agency’s efforts to more closely align its resources with risks, Matz said.
“Rather than a one-size-fits-all examination program, we are allocating our resources appropriate to the risk posed by each credit union to the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund,” he r letter said.
“Credit unions eligible for the SCUEP will continue to receive professional and thorough examinations that focus on areas of weakness, adverse trends or higher risks. NCUA believes the risk-focused SCUEP, coupled with training and assistance from OSCUI, will result in improved small credit union operations and a better allocation of agency resources,” she said in the letter.
Credit unions receiving a SCUEP examination will continue to see examination time commensurate with credit union size, structure, and risk profile; emphasis on improved communication with management; focus on issues and risks relevant to the credit union; optional meetings with the board of directors for qualifying credit unions; customized examination reports; and additional supervision where appropriate, the agency said.
Examiners will still closely review areas exhibiting weaknesses and adverse trends, the NCUA said. Also, the scope of SCUEP examinations will continue to reflect the challenges unique to small credit unions, like fewer staff, limited segregation of duties and internal controls, and scarce financial resources to secure necessary equipment, education and training.
One thing examiners won’t be doing is providing guidance and assistance to small credit unions. That will now be provided by the Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives, the letter said.
OSCUI’s goal is to ensure the long-term viability and growth for small credit unions through four primary functions: training, consulting, grants and loans, and partnerships and resources.
Enrollment in OSCUI’s National Small Credit Union Examination Program is available through the credit union’s NCUA district examiner.
Matz said the NCUA will implement the program throughout 2012 and evaluate its benefits and longer-term outlook early next year.