HOUSTON — Right now, Camel ratings are probably not the most pressing worry for credit unions compared to the impact the troubled economy has had on the industry, Alonzo Swann, NCUA Region III director, told attendees at the African American Credit Union Coalition’s annual meeting this morning.

Swann said changes to the rating system will be minimal but even so, NCUA has been prepping for the adjustments for some time. For Region III states, additional supervision visits are coming in light of damages to the financials of some of the larger credit unions, particularly in Florida. Some credit unions that previously saw examiners once every 18 months are now visited every three months.

The changes to the Camel rating system are also closely tied to identifying the most important issues with running a credit union in today’s environment, Swann said. Capital used to be the top concern 20 years ago, but now ensuring safety and soundness at the management level has become the main priority, he said. The rest of Swann’s top five list was the liquidity part of asset-liability management, asset quality, earnings and capital coming in dead last.

“There are a lot of credit unions that used to manage to 1% ROA,” Swann said. “You should manage to the best interest of your members.”

Swann said if the industry adds up the total hits to the insurance fund over the last 15 years, 2007′s withdrawals were more. Over that same 15-year time period, the focus in Region III had been on ensuring the smaller credit unions were up to par. That has since shifted to helping out larger credit unions again, mainly in Florida and other localized spots, Swann said.