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ARLINGTON, Va. – It wasn’t Bob Dorsa’s imagination after all. NCUA’s year-end 2000 CUSO stats looked suspiciously high to NACUSO’s president, and now it turns out that Dorsa was right all along. As reported by Credit Union Times in the May 23 issue, Dorsa took a look at NCUA’s year-end 2000 numbers, compared them to what the agency reported as of Dec. 1999 and knew immediately that the numbers were “way off base,” he said. Dorsa was particularly concerned that the operational numbers listed under “predominant service of CUSO” were confusing, and that the figures NCUA showed for the number of CUSOs and for “credit union portion of net income (loss) resulting from CUSO” were too high. In June, after talks between Dorsa and a NCUA staffer about the alleged incorrect data, the agency agreed to review the numbers (CU Times, June 27). Now, NCUA has acknowledged that while, “There was no error made per se with the numbers,” said Peter Majka, data analysis officer at NCUA. “the error, instead, was with the labeling used to describe the numbers and the editing of the data.” Specifically, the first line that NCUA describes as “number of CUSOs” is actually the number of loans and/or investments made to a CUSO, Majka said. If, for example, there was more than one credit union involved with a CUSO and each one made a loan or investment to the CUSO, then each loan or investment would have been counted individually, even though they were all made to the same one CUSO. “You also have to remember that there can be all sorts of combinations,” Majka explained. “An explanatory footnote that would have explained this was inadvertently dropped,” said Majka. He said that after reviewing the 1999 year-end data, it did not show a footnote either in that report. To aggravate the situation, Majka said there was no edit check that would have instructed a respondent who indicated they made a loan or investment in a CUSO, to check off a “predominant CUSO services.” Majka said NCUA will begin an edit check starting with the June 2001 call report that will require all credit unions indicating they’ve made a loan or an investment to a CUSO, to check off a predominant service. The 2001 semiannual data as of June 30 is due back from credit unions by July 23. It will be available on NCUA’s Web site a few weeks afterwards, and will be published in hardcopy several months later. -

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