<p>ARLINGTON, Va. – NASCUS officials have rolled up their sleeves and put their heads down to wade through and complete an analysis of the wealth of information they received from NCUA in response to the association's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents "related to the completed Deloitte & Touche independent study of the NCUA overhead transfer." NASCUS President Doug Duerr emphasized that the association "wants to look at the information with an open mind," given NASCUS' long-standing misgivings with the overhead transfer rate and its argument that the calculation NCUA uses to determine the OTR is flawed. "NASCUS has never taken the argument that there aren't things NCUA shouldn't be compensated for from the insurance fund. The question is how much and how should the amount be figured," said Duerr. NASCUS filed its FOIA request last October after NCUA released the findings of Deloitte & Touche's study of the overhead transfer rate. The association opined that the D&T study was based on the parameters the NCUA gave it to work with and did not ask the correct questions to properly assess NCUA's method for setting the transfer rate from the insurance fund to cover insurance-related expenses (CU Times, Nov. 7, 2001). Specifically, NASCUS requested NCUA provide: "documentation of the regulatory and safety and soundness definitions provided to Deloitte & Touche; and" "the time surveys used in the 2000 survey provided to Deloitte & Touche." Duerr said NCUA was very cooperative with providing the requested information to NASCUS. So much so that NASCUS received more information back from NCUA "than we thought we would," he said. NASCUS assumed NCUA would respond in the form of a one or two page letter with the requested information. Instead, said Duerr, "It seems as though we got copies of the responses from all of the agency's examiners," and that will take some time for NASCUS to get through and evaluate. "It's a massive amount of information and data," said Duerr. At the heart of NASCUS' issue with the OTR is the information NCUA uses to determine how much time examiners spend on regulatory activities, and how much they spend on activities concerning insurance. In its own legal study of the overhead transfer rate NASCUS conducted last year, it concluded that the lack of a clear delineation between the two activities by examiners makes it difficult to reach any easy conclusions about the OTR (CU Times, Oct. 17, 2001). "We've always said there's a lot of overlap between regulatory and insurance-related activities and that there shouldn't be double billings," said Duerr. In evaluating examiners' responses to the time survey used by NCUA in its 2000 survey of examiners, NASCUS plans to do a spreadsheet of the data it received. What will NASCUS management be looking for? "Consistency," said Duerr. "Different and irregular answers will suggest that when NCUA asks a sampling of examiners and the agency's administrative staff to determine the time they spend on regulatory and insurance activities, that the questions are being interpreted differently than they're being asked. "We're asking ourselves, `are the questions confusing because of the way they're worded,' " said Duerr. " Once we're able to get our arms around the questions NCUA asks its examiners, how they're developed and the examiners' replies, we'll be able to better determine if NCUA is asking the right questions." Regardless of what NASCUS' analysis turns up, Duerr emphasized that, "There continues to be plenty of opportunity to negotiate a conclusion that's acceptable to both the state system and NCUA. We are interested in working in a cooperative manner with NCUA to reach that conclusion." Even though the NCUA Board set the OTR at 62% for 2002, "We realize that the NCUA Board could revisit the whole anytime it wants to," said Duerr. Duerr said NASCUS received a "clear promise" from NCUA Chairman Dennis Dollar that he "welcomes the opportunity" to have an ongoing discussion on the OTR issue and has left the door open for further discussion on the issue. Duerr further emphasized that NASCUS prefers to be able to keep the OTR debate "within the credit union community," instead of bringing Congress in on it. NASCUS Vice President, Government Relations Mary Martha Fortney intends to complete the analysis of NCUA's response to NASCUS' FOIA request in time for the March meeting of the association's governmental affairs committee. After that, the analysis will be sent to the NASCUS Board for review. -</p> <p>[email protected]</p>

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