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ALEXANDRIA, Va.-CUNA and NAFCU have met with NCUA about the agency’s Strategic Plan for 2003-2008 while it is being reviewed and updated as required by law. NCUA Executive Director Len Skiles and Director of Strategic Planning James “Tab” Patrick met with CUNA and NAFCU staff. “NAFCU believes that the strategic plan’s mission, vision and strategic goals should be modified to more accurately reflect NCUA’s role as a regulator and insurer,” NAFCU President and CEO Fred Becker wrote in an October 12 letter to the NCUA chairman. NCUA’s mission, vision, and goals were last updated in the Annual Performance Plan for 2001, available at the agency’s Web site. Specifically, NAFCU wants NCUA to change its characterization of the relationship between NCUA and federal credit unions as “proactive partner[s]” to credit unions to having NCUA “ always strive to provide an efficiency of process which creates a regulatory environment where credit unions are encouraged and not impeded in their effort to reach out and serve Americans from all walks of life.” NAFCU Director of Regulatory Affairs Gwen Baker said that when the last plan was drafted, NAFCU had expressed concerns that the agency was being “a little too hands on.” According to NAFCU, NCUA’s current vision, mission and strategic goals do not reflect the principles of the NCUA Board as it changed to a more laissez-faire form of regulation as the agency changed from Democratic to Republican leadership at the beginning of the year. “We tried not to get into too much specifics,” Baker explained. The strategic plan is very broad and does not lend itself to specifics, she said. However, NAFCU did suggest that the Strategic Plan follow more closely to NCUA Chairman Dennis Dollar’s philosophies. After speaking with NCUA staff, Baker said, “They seem to be heading in the right direction.” According to CUNA Associate General Counsel Mary Dunn, NCUA has already made a key connection with the credit union community by reaching out for comments on the Strategic Plan. “NCUA has made some important improvements in its Strategic Plan process,” she said. After the event of September 11, however, Dunn said CUNA wonders whether more focused should be placed on contingency planning. “Not to say we’re the only one’s thinking about this,” she said. “I’m sure NCUA is but because they’re reaching out to credit unions we’re taking advantage of the opportunity.” In particular, CUNA noted the agency’s Annual Performance Plan for 2001, which is closely tied to the longer-term Strategic Plan. The 2001 performance plan included specific quotas for increasing credit union e-business, including increasing the number of credit unions offering interactive services by 10%; increasing the number of credit unions offering electronic bill payment and presentation services by 5% each year; and increasing the number of credit unions having technology plans by 5% each year. Dunn said CUNA has two basic questions for NCUA: “Do these quotas really serve credit unions and the agency well.?” and “How can credit unions assess the extent to which resources are allocated consistent with the strategic plan?” Not that CUNA does not feel technological advances at credit unions are not important, but it should be decided by the credit unions and their members. She stressed, “We don’t want credit unions to be left behind while their competitors are using the latest technology.” NCUA should be more involved in groups and opportunities, like the BITS Crisis Management Summit, rather than prescribing quotas, Dunn said. “We are encouraging NCUA to have a broader view.and be open to new ideas from other regulators where appropriate.” Dunn emphasized, “What’s important about the plan is it really does set the blue print for the agency for following and carrying out its objectives.” [email protected]

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