CUNA officials told Credit Union Times they think the NCUA’s listening sessions announced Thursday are a good step toward meeting the trade association’s calls for public hearings on the NCUA’s risk-based capital proposed rule.
CUNA pressed for the hearings in a Feb. 14 letter to NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz.
“It’s a little different approach, but it’s a good approach,” said Eric Richard, CUNA’s executive vice president and general counsel. “We commend (the NCUA) for being open to hearing what credit unions think about this proposed rule and other topics.”
However, both Richard said CUNA will push the NCUA to make comments aired during the listening sessions a part of the official administrative record.
“If things are part of administrative record, it triggers a requirement for the regulator to address the arguments in its final rule, he said.
Senior Vice President and Assistant General Counsel Mary Dunn said CUNA has studied the Administrative Procedures Act, and nothing in the law prevents the NCUA from including listening sessions discussions on the record.
“I don’t want to detract from the NCUA’s decision to hold these sessions, but if comments about the proposed rule made at the listening sessions are going to be part of the administrative record and part of what the agency formally considers, credit unions will come prepared, more weight will be given to what they say, and it will be a more meaningful exercise,” she said.
CUNA officials will meet with NCUA leaders during next week’s Governmental Affairs Conference, Dunn said, to discuss the risk-based capital proposal and other issues. She said the listening sessions will help soften the tone of the meetings, because they give an indication the NCUA wants all parties to be heard.
Richard agreed, but added the proposed rule is still a large concern for CUNA and its members.
“It’s still the issue of the year,” he said.