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ARLINGTON, Va. – NCUA has agreed to take a “good look” at the numbers it reported in its year-end 2000 data on credit union service organizations after talks between an agency staffer and NACUSO President Bob Dorsa concerning the allegedly misleading data. Dorsa called the numbers “way off-base” (CU Times, May 23) because they showed suspiciously high increases in nearly every category, compared with year-end 1999 numbers. “We don’t want credit unions forming CUSOs under false pretense and based on incorrect information,” said Dorsa. Since the story ran in Credit Union Times, Dorsa said he’s spoken with Peter Majka, data analysis officer at NCUA about the numbers, and “He’s graciously decided to take a good look at them again including exploring how the numbers were derived and how they’re generated,” Dorsa said. The year-end 2000 CUSO stats compared Dec. 31, 2000 data to Dec. 31, 1999 data in several areas: the number of CUSOs; amount invested in CUSOs, amount loaned to CUSOs; CU portion of net income from CUSOs; the number of wholly owned CUSOs, and the predominant CUSO services. Dorsa found most of what he considered to be inaccuracies among the operational CUSO services such as mortgage processing, EDP processing, shared branching, auto buying/leasing/indirect lending, credit cards and item processing. “Any credit union looking at these numbers is likely to tell themselves, `’This must be a hot market since so many CUSOs are getting involved in this service, so maybe I should form a CUSO for this service as well or have my CUSO begin offering it.’ Credit unions are making their business plans based on these numbers. It’s critical that NCUA take a closer look at them and explain where they derive the data from.” One of the few areas among those listed under `predominant CUSO service’ where Dorsa felt comfortable with the numbers NCUA reported was in trust services. As of Dec. 31, 1999, three CUSOs reported trust services as their predominant services, and as of Dec. 31, 2000 that number increased modestly to five. While the figure is small, Dorsa said “trust services in this decade are what financial planning was in the 1980s and 1990s.” Dorsa in fact is so confident in the growing importance of trust services for CUSOs that NACUSO has chosen trust services to be the focus of the association’s leadership conference in Hawaii on September 19-21. The association has invited several guest speakers to talk about trust services and the transfer of wealth during the three-day conference. The conference will mark the first time NACUSO has focused a conference entirely on trust services. -

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