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ATLANTA — NCUA officials continued to catch heat from the corporate bailout plan as they fielded fast and sometimes furious questions at the agency’s Risk Mitigation Summit Feb. 19.John Kutchey, acting director of the NCUA’s Office of Examination and Insurance, kept his cool as attendees sought more hard details on the corporate credit union stabilization plan.“I do feel strongly that the actions taken were the best action for credit unions,” Kutchey said during the summit held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.One summit attendee wasn’t buying it: “All of us feel suckered by what’s going on with the corporates.” Another asked why those CUs that do not invest with corporates should have to be involved in the rescue plan. One CU CEO worried that the plan’s costs will affect day-to-day operations and member service.“We looked at the downstream losses and did not want to take them on your behalf,” Kutchey said. “We knew we might see catastrophic losses and the shutdown of credit unions. Some CEOs that I’ve talked to have responded with ‘so.’ And, then I ask, ‘so you’re okay with paying [for these potential losses]?’”Ultimately, the credit union industry has the power to decide how they want the corporate CU system to look, Kutchey said.“As an industry, you decide if you want to capitalize the corporate system,” he said, adding if they were to happen, the NCUA would take the necessary structural and regulatory analysis.Kutchey said some issues are more pressing now. Less of an issue for him is other than temporary impairment or a write-down of assets when there is a significant likelihood that the full 100% value of an asset will not be recovered. The NCUA said OTTI charges could have an impact on costs to shore up corporates.“Personally, I don’t care what the OTTI numbers are,” Kutchey said. “I want to know about credit loss.”Kutchey said there is a supervisory letter in the works for NCUA examiners advising them to “not penalize credit unions based on what’s happening” as they help to stabilize the corporate credit union system.Meanwhile, the NCUA Central Liquidity Facility is “using everything in its arsenal to keep liquidity flowing,” Owen Cole, director of the agency’s Office of Capital Markets and Planning, reminded credit unions.“Nobody expected portfolio values to decline so much,” Cole told summit attendees. “We will not sell assets if we can avoid that.”The NCUA issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking, approving an infusion of $1 billion in capital into U.S. Central FCU from the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund. The regulator has also approved a temporary NCUSIF guarantee of all member shares for corporates that agree to participate in a voluntary guarantee program offered by the NCUA. The news has caused a wave of anxiety within the industry about accountability and who should shoulder some of the financial blame.Cole said corporate credit unions came to the NCUA in August 2008 with concerns of “highly strained liquidity.” Banks were also feeling the sting and the FDIC sought relief, he added.“It put us at an immediate disadvantage,” Cole said.Ultimately, the NCUA’s CLF received a “$41 billion line of credit” to free up liquidity. Cole said there’s about $30 billion left to use, which “doesn’t sound like a lot,” but all the funding is critical to creating “stabilization by maintaining liquidity.”–[email protected]

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