ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The NCUA Board on Thursday unanimously approved an agency budget of $251.4 million for fiscal year 2013.
That’s 6.1% or $14,532,305 higher than the budget approved for 2012.
“This is not something we take lightly,” said NCUA Board Chairman Debbie Matz. She called the budget a “strong signal” that credit unions are coming out of the Great Recession and she noted that this was the first year since 2008 that the agency has not had to add more fulltime staff positions.
This increase is higher than the 5.1% increase approved for 2012, but significantly less than the 12.1%, approved for 2009, 13% for 2010, and 12.2 % approved for 2011.
Matz said the NCUA regions had used zero-based budgeting to keep increases down and the agency kept travel expenses below an increase of 3% and administrative costs to below 1%.
The agency also budgeted to account for a possible pay increase for federal workers that will have to face possible congressional approval in 2013. If that is approved, the agency will need to have budgeted for it, the NCUA board chair said.
Personnel and travel expenses are the largest items in the agency's budget, reflecting its labor-intensive work at credit unions spread across the country, Matz said.
The agency removed unneeded fulltime positions that were unfilled and also cut the use of outside consultants, according to NCUA Chief Financial Officer Mary Ann Woodson.
Rent, communication and utility costs dropped by 3.3%, the agency said.
The NCUA Board currently comprises Matz and Michael Fryzel since the resignation of Gigi Hyland earlier this year.
CUNA had sent a letter to the board earlier this week asking that the budget be cut.
In the letter, CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney noted that the number of credit unions in the system declined by 10.8% while the NCUA's budget grew 48.1% between 2009 and 2012.
He also said that the number of FTEs had risen from 965 to 1,261.5, a 30.7% increase, and that travel costs were up 69% and contract service expenses jumped 130% in those three years.
"The NCUA's budget is funded overwhelmingly by credit unions, and they deserve to have their funds allocated prudently and efficiently to support reasonable safety and soundness objectives," Cheney said in the letter, which was sent Tuesday.