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No offense to NCUA or any other regulators, but they are not usually leading edge. They are often reactors. Take new technologies. When NCUA was created it certainly didn’t have to worry about say audits of third-party tech providers to protect the insurance fund until online services started to flourish at credit unions. They didn’t have to start honing in on subprime lending until one company came in with great success and changed the marketplace. In other words, NCUA is going to be reactive on all sorts of things as the industry changes.

But credit unions that rely on NCUA to protect them are playing a dangerous game. Take the Wings FCU/Continental FCU debacle. The trade associations are vehemently urging NCUA to do something, to step in and protect the cooperative nature of credit unions. It would be nice, but not easy. There’s a lot at stake here. If NCUA were to come out and say one credit union can’t court another credit union’s members in a takeover bid, could they also say one credit union can’t market to another credit union within their field of membership? Could NCUA also say member groups shouldn’t be allowed to court other members from signing a petition to recall the credit union’s board? It’s an extra slippery slope.

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