Acting North Carolina Credit Union Administrator Rose Conner said she agreed to not release any state-issued CAMEL codes under her watch. That was good enough for the NCUA to agree Feb. 8 to end separate exams for North Carolina’s state chartered credit unions.
NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz confirmed the agreement, saying “Administrator Conner has given me her word that NCCUD’s affirmative policy moving forward will not authorize any public release of confidential examination information, especially CAMEL ratings. With this new commitment and policy from the state regulator, we look forward to resuming joint examinations, training and open communications with NCCUD.”
North Carolina’s 52 state-chartered credit unions were subjected to separate exams in early 2012 by both the NCUA and state regulators after Conner’s predecessor, retired Administrator Jerrie Jay, green lighted the publication of the $25.5 billion State Employee’s Credit Union’s state CAMEL codes. The NCUA said the exams were necessary because the release threatened the safety of the NCUSIF and violated the federal agency’s trust in the North Carolina regulator. The NCUA had said it would cease the separate exams once the state regulator ended a pilot program that allowed the CAMEL codes release. That program expired in September 2012. However, Conner said, “at that point, the NCUA was not apparently ready to go back to doing the dual exams.”
North Carolina Credit Union League President John Radebaugh said, “The league welcomes [the] announcement. The dual examinations of state-chartered credit unions represented an unwelcome and unnecessary burden in an already complex regulatory environment. We are grateful to both agencies for working through their differences in an effort to best serve the interests of credit unions and their members.”
The North Carolina League had pressed for a face-to-face meeting between Matz and Jay to resolve the issue, but Radebaugh said that meeting did not occur before Jay’s retirement. Jay retired from the agency on Dec. 31, 2012 as she had previously planned, according to a NCCUD employee who wouldn’t answer further questions about Jay because he said he wasn’t an official agency spokesman.
Meetings attended by the NCUA, NCCUD and State Employees’ CU executives resulted in Yolles stating that Jay accused the NCUA of withdrawing federal insurance from SECU and Region IV Director Herb Yolles accusing Jay of leaking confidential documents to SECU officials. An NCUA Office of Inspector General investigation ruled in Yolles’ favor. The situation prompted an industry debate regarding the disclosure of CAMEL ratings, and also resulted in a public standoff between Matz and SECU President/CEO Jim Blaine as Matz addressed the 2012 NASCUS Summit.
Conner stressed she wants to put the issue behind her as the state regulator moves forward in establishing a good working relationship with the NCUA.
The two regulators will work out the details of the agreement, which Conner said includes the scheduling of dual exams of state chartered credit unions with more than $250 million in assets, something the NCUA does in all states. Conner said the agreement will not include stricter parameters for the Tar Heel State.
“I have no reason to believe that our exams will not be accepted in the same way as before,” Conner said. “We have the same credibility we’ve always had.”
The acting administrator said she’s interested in keeping the job on a permanent basis. The position would be appointed by North Carolina Secretary of Commerce Sharon Allred Decker, who was appointed by newly elected Gov. Pat McCrory last month.