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<p>FAIRFAX, Va.-In a recent speech to the Northern Virginia Chapter of Credit Unions, NCUA Chairman Dennis Dollar reassured attendees that even with one board member, the agency was up and fully functioning. He has been the sole board member since December 21 of last year when YolandaWheat was told by the administration to leave and Geoff Bacino’s term as a recess appointment expired with the end of the congressional session. Dollar also reviewed several of the accomplishments that particular NCUA Board combination achieved. “When there is one member of the board, that one member is the quorum,” Dollar explained. He added that though he has the authority to act unilaterally, he has decided not to unless an emergency arises. In 2001, under the Dollar-Wheat-Bacino team, the entire dynamic of the agency was altered, the chairman commented, and became much more open. NCUA held its first ever open public budget hearing in which NCUA staff laid out the intricacies of the agency’s budget decisions. Dollar said the openness of the agency’s budgetary process is helping build credibility with its stakeholders, which are credit unions. “I think it’s very important for that public confidence,” Dollar said. Credit union trade organizations highly touted the regulator’s “sunshine in the government.” Dollar additionally noted that the agency’s full-time equivalent positions are well on their way to the 4% reduction through attrition that the chairman is aiming for by the end of his tenure and that NCUA plans an actual dollar budget reduction for 2003. “This shows the good stewardship of agency funds, if you have a board that’s willing to do it,” Dollar pointed out. He also noted the approval of the incidental powers rule as another great achievement of the NCUA Board. The regulation clarifies what powers are incidental to credit union business, explains how to find out if an activity qualifies, and permits credit unions to receive income over the cost of reimbursement. The new rule also conforms to the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-Sign). “We want credit unions to be empowered to deliver financial services that their members are calling for in the way your members are expecting them in the year 2000 and beyond,” he said. Dollar also mentioned his pet project over the last two years, which finally received board approval-regulatory flexibility-or `Reg-Flex’ as it has come to be known. He blasted the concept of `one-size-fits-all’ regulation. Dollar listed off many of the agency’s other accomplishments as well, including the record addition of 16.1 million new potential members in underserved areas by making the process easier, making the executive director a career position, keeping the number of troubled credit unions low despite economic uncertainties, and the flexible examination schedule. [email protected]</p>

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