ORLANDO, Fla.-NCUA Acting Chairman Dennis Dollar announced at NAFCU's Annual Conference & Exhibition that soon after he took the helm of the credit union regulatory agency, he directed senior staff to review NCUA's management and organizational structure for opportunities to streamline and improve operations and thereby increase agency accountability, budgetary responsibility, and efficiency. The Accountability In Management (AIM) working-group is headed by long-time agency employee NCUA Executive Director Leonard Skiles and has been in place since March. AIM will present its report to the entire NCUA Board in time for the 2002 agency budget decision this fall. Dollar told conference attendees that NCUA is "trying to find a way to be better stewards of the operating fees and the overhead transfer." He suggested that some restructuring of departments could take place as well as personnel reductions. Dollar explained, "we are going in with no sacred cows," and no stone will go unturned. He stressed that the AIM process will be "healthy, whether we make any changes or not because self-study is always important." Reining in NCUA's budget is especially significant to Dollar, who pointed out that he is the only NCUA chairman ever to have paid an operating fee to the agency. The chairman, whose speech was interrupted several times by applause, has also recently announced that he expects to hold open hearings in the fall regarding the NCUA budget, the increases of which have raised the eyebrows of all federal and federally insured credit unions. Dollar, whom NAFCU Chairman Jim Mills, president and CEO of Three Rivers Federal Credit Union, described as a "tireless advocate for streamlining," has made several changes in this area since he took the helm of NCUA. He has announced open hearings regarding NCUA's budget, introduced a Regulatory Flexibility regulation aimed at reducing the time examiners spend in healthy credit unions and increasing their ability to aid struggling ones, proposed an expanded examination schedule, and is considering a more risk-based approach to examinations. Each of these initiatives has the potential to positively impact the agency's recently expanding budget. With proper humility, Dollar claims, "It is more accurate [to call it] rather than a new NCUA.a refocusing on what it originally was." He emphasized that safety and soundness of the credit union community must be first and foremost in the regulator's minds. NCUA Board Member Geoff Bacino, who also spoke at NAFCU's Annual Exhibition, reinforced Dollar's words for the attendees. He commended the chairman's budget hearings, the record-breaking number of comments Dollar received on the Reg-Flex proposal, and said he looked forward to the July board meeting, which will address incidental powers. [email protected]

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