NAFCU and CUNA both spoke out Thursday against the new annual budget approved earlier in the day by the NCUA Board.
The two-person board – Debbie Matz and Michael Fryzel – approved a $251.4 million budget for fiscal year 2013, a 6.1% jump from the 2012 budget.
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“This year’s $14.5 million increase, which follows last year’s increase, is difficult to justify in the current economic climate. Perhaps most troubling is that $12.8 million of this increase is for a 7.5% increase in pay – provided the president approves an increase in the general schedule pay scale,” NAFCU President/CEO Fred Becker said in a statement.
CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney, who earlier this week in a letter to the NCUA noted that the number of credit unions to regulate has dropped more than 10% in the past three years, said Thursday, “For credit unions, this budget increase is exasperating, particularly as other federal financial institution regulators have held the line on their own budgets.”
“Clearly the NCUA Board believes it has no reason to take a similar line – one that the president of the United States has personally mandated for federal agencies,” Cheney said.
Becker’s statement reflected similar frustration.
“NAFCU has continually urged NCUA to demonstrate greater restraint in its spending to address the agency's most urgent needs. We also believe NCUA should be more transparent with regard to the budget process,” Becker said.
“There was planned spending of $236.9 million last year, but that was cut by $2 million in July. NCUA said that would go to offset 2013 operating fees,” the NAFCU CEO said, “but we would be hard-pressed to see how that is being carried out. If this 7.5% pay raise, which is in and of itself highly questionable, doesn't go through, where will that money go, and how will it affect 2014?”
Cheney’s statement said his trade group intends to take the issue to the White House and Capitol Hill. “The issue of ever-increasing budgets at the agency, in our view, necessitates greater oversight, accountability and transparency,” Cheney said.
“We will express our deep concerns to the Obama Administration, as well as lawmakers regarding oversight of the NCUA’s budget. The agency must be held accountable for its budget decisions – and we intend to ensure that will happen,” he said.