State leagues are witnessing a surge in doctor house calls, so to speak. From North Carolina to California, the leagues, hoping to assist hard-pressed small CUs cope with an increased regulatory burden, are developing newly minted compliance programs that stress on-site visits by experienced league staffers or consultants that can last a week or more. And credit union managers like the idea, not only because they are getting a firmer grip on compliance training but also because they find in many cases the league visits are cheaper than hiring accountants, auditors or lawyers. On-site visits are hardly new. The Texas Credit Union League, for one, has been charting a much larger market share of the service since it debuted its "Shared Compliance Resources" venture in 2006 with client participation in five states: Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and California. Georgia Credit Union Affiliates, a pioneer in the on-site concept with 21 credit union contracts, said it now has reached agreement with the Ohio Credit Union League for a 2010 rollout of its dedicated monthly formats in that state. As for Texas, Steven Gibbs, manager of the shared compliance program, noted that at its inception "there were three credit union clients with just myself as the specialist, and now we've added four full-time compliance professionals and provided services for over 60 clients, the majority choosing to continue the relationship on a permanent basis." In large part, he said, the program remains as it was originally envisioned: credit unions choose the number of weeks they need or can afford. The specialists perform a variety of functions, from developing and supervising compliance operations to providing internal support. "Smaller credit unions really need this program but have battled budget constraints in attempting to add outsourcing services," said Gibbs. "We've met this challenge by setting up time frames and products that reduce costs." The latest league to join the on-site trend, North Carolina, recently hired a former State Employees' Credit Union lawyer and vice president, Jeanne Couchois, to head up staffing. "Jeanne's expertise will be of particular assistance to credit unions that may not have the resources to hire a full-time compliance officer," explained Kim Bohannon, league vice president of compliance and risk management. One North Carolina CEO, Genice DeCorte of the $25 million Greensboro Health Care CU, said a weeklong compliance visit, complete with role-playing exercises, has saved her CU several thousands in fees as compared "to what I spent in Florida where I was a CEO." Charles Johnson, CEO of the $62 million Telco CU in Tarboro, N.C., said the league program will end up "saving me the cost of hiring a full-time compliance person." –[email protected]

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