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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.- Taking a page from the management consultant’s handbook, the Missouri Division of Credit Unions has promulgated and put on its Web site goals for the next biennium, setting targets for the division’s operation. Among the division’s 10 goals for 2003-2004 are to implement risk-focused examinations and, concurrent with that, reduce the percentage of time division examiners spend at credit unions and increase off-site examination time as a percentage of total examination time. Another key goal is making sure that the division keeps the fees it charges credit unions for regulatory services below the assessments levied by NCUA. Still another goal states the agency will “Pursue a seamless regulatory environment for credit unions operating across state lines.” Missouri credit unions have expanded beyond the state’s borders and Division Director John Smith wants to make it easy for those credit unions to retain their Missouri charter. The enumerated goals support another division goal – retaining more than 90% of Missouri credit union assets in Missouri-chartered credit unions. Smith calculates that 94% of those assets are currently held by state credit unions. Brian Knight, NASCUS director of legal policy analysis confirmed that Missouri was succeeding in that goal. NASCUS data reports that 169 of 181 credit unions in Missouri are state chartered. “We want to be the regulator of choice,” Smith said. He added that the list of goals does not represent a dramatic departure in practice. Rather, he said, “It’s probably a formalization of things that we have always had in front of us.” Two goals are designed to keep the division on top of troubled credit unions. One seeks to resolve the problems at troubled credit unions within 18 months. The other recommends keeping the number of troubled credit unions at six or less at any time. Smith said the state currently has six troubled credit unions, which he defined as institutions rated Code Four or Five and one has been at the status for 18 months. “We want to identify them early on if we can and bring (problems) to management’s attention to implement some changes,” he said. “And once they are in trouble we’d like them to (speedily make an effort) to turn that around.” Smith hopes that by meeting the goals on risk-focused examinations, coupled with a new state statute that stretches the maximum time between examinations to 18 months from 12 months, will free more staff time to concentrate on credit unions in trouble or heading that way. “I think that we’ll manage our time better,” he said. “We’ll have more time to coach and remedy situations.” “All these goals are very good for us to have,” said Amy McLard, vice president of public and legislative affairs for the Missouri Credit Union System. McLard said the only goal her organization, whose members are both state and federally chartered, does not support is the goal to keep 90% of credit union assets in state-chartered credit unions. One Missouri credit union manager, though, is at least a little skeptical. While he likes the idea that state examiners will now be spending less time in his office disrupting his staff – he complains that it sometimes seems like as soon as his auditor leaves, the state examiner wants to come in and duplicate the work of his auditor – Art Schumacher, president of $6.3 million Cross Roads CU of Kansas City, worries about the current tough times at some credit unions. “The way things are going now, they need to do it every six months,” he said. Knight said he had not seen a state division’s strategy articulated in a formal statement of goals before, but said, “The sentiment expressed in those goals are sentiments we strive for.” Among the other goals set by the Missouri division are: *making the division’s management and examiners easily accessible to credit unions; *being visible and engaged at trade association meetings; *publish a quarterly newsletter, meet regularly with credit unions and conduct an annual performance survey. -

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