CHICAGO — NCUA Board Member Gigi Hyland hit all the hot industry topics in her keynote speech to kick off the AICPA National Conference on Credit Unions last week. Much of what Hyland told the 340 credit union and vendor accountants was a repeat of information shared at this fall's NCUA Town Hall meetings. However, she did provide more details regarding a potential 2010 NCUSIF stabilization assessment, saying credit unions trying to budget for next year should set aside between 15 and 30 basis points "to be on the safe side." Hyland stressed the number is only an estimate meant only to assist budgeting credit unions and added the actual amount and assessment date have not yet been determined. The NCUA board should be able to provide more information during next month's meeting, she said. On Capitol Hill, Hyland said the Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.)-sponsored H.R. 3380 would raise the current member business lending cap to 25% and increase the reporting threshold to $250,000. She said it's too early to know if the bill has enough support to pass and added that the NCUA has not yet taken an official position. Speaking only for herself, Hyland said she would like to see no business member lending cap whatsoever; however, credit unions shouldn't have a reporting threshold, either, which means all member business loans big and small would have to be accounted for in 5300 reports. Additionally, Hyland said she will push for regulatory authority from Congress to "phase in" any lending cap increases because so many CAMEL 4 and 5 credit unions are suffering business lending losses. "I'd like to see credit unions crawl before they walk, and walk before they run," she said of building member business lending. She discussed the NCUA's efforts to merge or sell off troubled credit unions, saying the agency's "old model" isn't working today. "For credit unions in the West … frankly, we're not finding a lot of dance partners," she said. Credit unions that were previously thought to be prime surviving merger-partner candidates are unable or unwilling to give up a penny of capital. To counter the necessity to solicit merger partners from across the country, Hyland said the NCUA has a working group within the Office of Examination and Insurance that is exploring ways to keep the merged credit union's assets local, like selling off branch locations or other assets to local credit unions. –[email protected]

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