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DES MOINES, Iowa-NCUA Chairman JoAnn Johnson outlined the agency’s priorities for 2006 in an address during the Iowa Credit Union League’s Annual Conference last week. Opportunities and challenges are all around, according to the chairman. “While 2005 presented many challenges, this year’s opportunities are expected to be met with progress and solutions which will further underscore the significant role of credit unions in today’s society,” she said. “With a full complement of the new NCUA Board, we are positioned to accomplish great initiatives to further strengthen the well-being of the nation’s credit union system. I anticipate a year of progress that is forward-focused.” Johnson plans to lead in the area of earned regulatory flexibility for federal credit unions and noted the reduction of the net worth ratio to qualify for RegFlex from 9% to 7%. Providing a risk-based capital system for credit unions continues to be a top priority, she emphasized. “Credit union capital standards should not be one-size-fits-all, and instead should recognize risk-based factors in an individual credit union’s balance sheet,” Johnson asserted to her home-state crowd. “This is an issue which will require greater effort for the regulator and regulated in working with Congress to bring this important safety and soundness priority to fruition. We look forward to continuing dialogue with Congress to reform PCA.” Demonstrating credit union service to those of modest means through hard numbers was a challenge as well as a priority that she acknowledged. “I have long believed that credit unions are meeting their mission of service,” Johnson remarked. “I am confident that the NCUA will utilize resources to collect and demonstrate service to persons of modest means in a way that is effective, and not burdensome for credit unions.” The method of data collection will be announced shortly, she promised. “I know credit unions are eager to learn more of this process and I assure you that the NCUA is focused on this being a productive and worthwhile evaluation.” Other priorities for 2006 Chairman Johnson outlined, included: * Maintaining the wise use of agency resources; * Enhancing safety and soundness; * Monitoring and supporting the hurricane recovery process; * Continuing push for regulatory relief in Congress; * Expand Access Across America partnerships; * Routinely update regulation regarding low-income designated credit unions; and * Planting the idea in credit unions’ minds to consider offering member business services. “Our foremost priority is safety and soundness for all federally insured credit unions,” Johnson said. “However, we should be on a course that recognizes credit unions must have a regulatory environment that does not stifle innovation and flexibility, but rather positions credit unions to flourish for the benefit of their membership and the continued vitality of the institution.” -

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