NCUA Reveals Plans to Overhaul Rules in Response to Trump Request
In response to a Trump Administration request for agencies to simplify their rules, the NCUA on Wednesday announced a comprehensive review of its regulations in an effort to provide regulatory relief to credit unions.
In announcing the review and issuing its plans for public comment, the agency made it clear that as an independent agency, the NCUA is not subject to the executive orders issued by the administration.
Instead, following policy that already has been announced by the agency, the NCUA is attempting to follow the “spirit” of executive orders directing agencies to simplify their regulations, the agency said.
The recommendations are the product of a regulatory task force formed earlier this year, following the Trump Executive Orders.
That task force’s recommendations include suggesting that the agency explore ways to implement fidelity bond and insurance coverage in the least costly way possible. The task force said the NCUA should strive to allow credit unions to make business decisions based on their own products and needs. The change would reduce the agency’s involvement in a credit union’s operational decisions while maintaining the spirit of the law, the task force said.
“The need for a forward-looking regulatory structure that offers meaningful relief without undermining safety and soundness is quite clear,” NCUA Board Chairman J. Mark McWatters said. “And these recommendations serve as a roadmap for a thoughtful process to achieve that goal. This undertaking represents a more significant and comprehensive regulatory relief effort than the agency has pursued in the past.”
“We have made significant progress in the area of regulatory relief in the years following the financial crisis, and this proposal takes that effort to another level,” Board Member Rick Metsger said.
The agency said the NCUA already is implementing parts of the task force’s recommendations.
The task force recommended the agency form a separate group to explore how best to revise the NCUA’s bylaws.
The task force called on the NCUA to:
- Issue a legal opinion authorizing federal credit unions to issue and sell securities under their incidental powers authority.
- Provide flexibility to credit unions with respect to compensation plans that incorporate lending as part of a set of organizational goals and performance measures.
- Combine loan maturity limits, and single borrower and group of associated borrower limits, into individual section. The task force said limits currently are scattered throughout agency rules.
- Finalize plans to revise the chartering and field of membership manual to allow applicants for community-chartered applicants to submit a narrative to help establish the common interests or interactions among areas it seeks to serve.
- Revise the definition of “danger of insolvency” for emergency mergers to provide a standard that would better protect the share insurance fund.
- Investigate the possibility of raising the threshold for stress testing to an amount greater than $10 billion and giving the responsibility to credit unions to conduct the tests.
- Consider extending the January 2019 implementation date for capital adequacy rules to avoid the need for call and system changes while the rule is being reviewed. This would also allow the agency to more closely align requirements with those being considered by banking regulators for community banks.
- Expand and formalize procedures that would allow federally-insured credit unions to secure review of material supervisory decisions by the agency’s Supervisory Review Committee.
- Consolidate procedures regarding when appeals of adverse determinations may be appealed to the NCUA board.
- Simplify and combine rules authorizing credit unions to purchase loans and other assets into one section.
- Allow credit unions with high net worth to be exempt from risk-based capital rules.
- Consider a rule governing the alternative forms of capital federally-insured credit unions may use in meeting capital standards.
- Revise regulations to remove restrictions on investment authorities not required by law and provide a principles-based approach focused on governance.
- Enhance federal preemption when possible. Federal credit unions that are multi-state lenders are still subject to a variety of state laws that create overlap and additional regulatory burdens.
- Examine CUSO regulations and evaluate permissible activities.
- Remove the 50% borrowing limit for federally-insured, state-chartered credit unions.