NCUA Shrinks 2013 Budget $2.6 Million: Onsite Coverage
Because federally insured credit unions have already paid 2013 operating fees, the excess funds will be used to offset 2014 operating budget requirements according to a Board Action Memorandum. That budget is scheduled to be revealed in November.
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Budget tweaks include a $6,263,449 net decrease in employee pay and benefits after the NCUA scrapped its budgeted 7.5% pay and benefits increase that would have cost $9.5 million. That was replaced with an average increase of 3%, which will come in the form of a one-time, performance-based lump sum totaling $3.6 million.
An additional $100,000 will be doled out to employees who aren’t union members to correct a locality pay disparity that resulted from a three-year pay freeze, the board said.
All NCUA employees last received merit increases and locality pay adjustments in 2010. In 2011, only employees covered under the NCUA-National Treasury Employees Union and non-bargaining union employees received merit increases.
However, in 2011, only union members received local adjustments. Senior staffers received no increases in 2011. And, no employees received pay increases or locality adjustments in 2012 or during the first half of 2013.
NCUA Board Chairman Debbie Matz said the NCUA is required per the Federal Credit Union Act to maintain compensation parity with other regulatory agencies, and it has not.
“It really does pain me that (NCUA employees) work so hard and have done such a tremendous job and don’t realize any pay increases,” Matz said.
She explained that even at federal agencies subjected to sequestration cuts, employees are still allowed to move up the federal pay scale; no similar scale exists at the NCUA.
“We are the only federal agency where employees have received no pay increases,” Matz said. The board memo said according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Fed Scope database, the average salary growth at other federal financial services regulatory agencies has ranged from 3.6% to 8% since 2011, with no increase at the NCUA.
Other changes to the budget include a $3,772,745 net increase in contracted services that will upgrade information technology systems and strengthen cyber security. The increase will also deploy an emergency notification management system and a new travel management system the agency said will increase efficiency and reduce paperwork.
The travel budget was decreased by $198,500. Rent, communications and utilities saw a net increase of $85,950 due to larger and longer examiner meetings and training. And, participation in the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council training resulted in a net budget increase of $27,943.
Trade association representatives attending the meeting said they were pleased with the budget decrease. NAFCU General Counsel Carrie Hunt said her organization appreciates any dollars the NCUA returns to credit unions, although she said she felt there was room to realize more budget savings. CUNA Deputy General Counsel Mary Dunn noted that the budget decrease was the largest cut in recent years.