Examiners Moved Out From the Shadows
The list is long on 2012 news and actions emanating from the NCUA: CUSO loan participations rules, an easier op-in process for low income credit union designation, a 6.1% increase in the agency’s budget for the next fiscal year and the October departure of Gigi Hyland.
Add to that the arguments over the competence of state examiners in the wake of the Telesis Community Credit Union collapse.
However, the news from the NCUA was overshadowed this year by the continuing contretemps over examiners and examinations. As the rancor continued to fester over the dual exams order last year by the NCUA of all North Carolina state-chartered credit unions, another more startling controversy arose over an examiner’s behavior.
Commodore Perry Federal Credit Union of Oak Harbor, Ohio, in September, filed an exam appeal with the NCUA Supervisory Review Committee alleging that an NCUA examiner harassed employees and retaliated against the credit union after it complained.
The $32 million Commodore Perry FCU elevated its exam appeal after it was denied by Regional Director Herb Yolles in August. Thomas Renz, the credit union’s president and chief development officer, and CEO Mike Barr said the male examiner harassed and bullied employees, particularly female employees, to the point where the credit union leaders said they worried their organization was legally liable.
Credit Union Times identified the examiner as Roger A. Clark through information obtained from the NCUA.
Barr and Renz originally submitted an appeal to Yolles in June, stating that they had the documentation to prove the examiner’s findings were inaccurate. They received a letter that denied the appeal, although Yolles did promise to send a different examiner to the credit union for its 2013 exam.
So, on Sept. 9, Barr and Renz submitted a 365-page appeal to the Supervisory Review Committee that included documentation they say proves the exam findings are inaccurate.
But in early October, the NCUA’s Office of Inspector General discounted Commodore Perry FCU’s allegations.
“The investigation could not substantiate the allegation that a credit union examiner made inappropriate comments to Commodore Perry FCU staff, and/or behaved inappropriately at the Commodore Perry FCU during the examinations in 2011 and 2012,” said NCUA Public Affairs Specialist John Fairbanks. Fairbanks also said that the OIG investigation did not substantiate the credit union’s allegations of retaliation in the form of a lower CAMEL rating.
After an appeal hearing on Nov. 7, Renz, said he expects a decision from the NCUA’s Supervisory Review Committee regarding the appeal in early December. SRC Chairman Joy Lee confirmed that timeline, saying the committee anticipates issuing a decision on the appeal within 30 days.
Emotions are still raw in another examination controversy that began last year when the $25 billion State Employees’ Credit Union in Raleigh, N.C., publicly released its state CAMEL rating under a pilot program approved by the North Carolina regulator. As a consequence, the NCUA began conducting separate examinations of all North Carolina state-chartered credit unions in early 2012.
About a year after the CAMEL release, Jim Blaine and Debbie Matz met face to face this September at the NASCUS Summit in Denver.
During the question and answer session, Blaine, president/CEO of State Employees’ CU, took Matz to task during a tense exchange about separate exams for North Carolina’s state-chartered credit unions.