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TUKWILA, Wash. – Some state credit union representatives would call the overhead transfer rate issue a volcano waiting to erupt, and that’s exactly what happened in 2001. The explosion was tripped by the NCUA Board’s decision in its Oct. 19 2000-meeting to raise the OTR for 2001 to 66.72% from its historical 50%, and it left in its wake three independent studies on the OTR and one state-chartered credit union petitioning NCUA for OTR rulemaking. Boeing Employees’ CU, in its independent report on the NCUA and NCISIF – “Caught in a Regulatory Vise: The Peculiar Problem Faced by Federally Insured State Chartered Credit Unions” – was the first to find that “the regulatory structure of the NCUA and NCUSIF is not only placing the agency in a position of a conflict of interest, it’s forcing federally-insured, state-chartered credit unions to cross-subsidize federal credit unions.” NAFCU subsequently refuted the findings of the BECU study and asserted they were inaccurate. Boeing ECU followed-up by filing a petition with NCUA for OTR rulemaking that would allow NCUSIF-insured CUs to participate in decisions concerning the OTR. A couple of months later, NASCUS released the findings of its independently-commissioned study of the OTR. That study – “Overhead Transfer: The Authority of the National Credit Union Administration to Allocated Costs to the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund” – found that NCUA’s authority to set the OTR is restricted by law. Shortly afterwards, NCUA released the findings of its own independent OTR study conducted by Deloitte and Touche accounting firm. The firm upheld NCUA’s calculation method of the OTR. NASCUS responded saying the D&T study didn’t ask the right questions. The association said the company simply conducted the study based on the parameters NCUA gave it. In an historic move, then-NCUA Acting Chairman Dennis Dollar invited credit union groups to comment on the external review of the OTR and to participate in an open budget briefing and public forum for the agency’s 2002 budget. Later in its November meeting, the NCUA Board unanimously approved a decrease in the OTR for 2002 from 66.72% to 62%.

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