NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — The NCUA is “very much in favor of indirect lending,” according to Victoria Bennett, region V lending specialist, during a session on Balancing Risk with Rewards of Indirect Lending.

However, Bennett was quick to clarify at CU Direct’s Lending Conference here, “We’re just concerned that it’s a well-run program.” She noted a slight dip in the growth of indirect lending in the last quarter of 2010 but mostly it has been humming along.

She also noted a drop in delinquencies and charge-offs related to indirect lending, but Bennett put on her regulator’s thinking cap. “How much is that influenced by modifications and [troubled debt restructuring]?” she pondered.

Bennett, a former national bank examiner, said that she has always loved credit unions. “They always fight for their members,” she said. Sometimes that can be to the detriment of the credit union, though, she added.

Changes are taking place inside the NCUA that credit unions should be aware of, Bennett explained. Since the NCUA is moving away from risk-based examinations, credit unions should be ready for questions they have not heard before, including from the indirect lending questionnaire.