NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz discussed the possibilities of an18-month examination cycle during a Nov. 20 roundtable discussionin New Hampshire.

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Rep. Frank Guinta (R-N.H.) hosted the event, during which hequeried Matz on the possibility of a pilot program in New Hampshirefor low-risk credit unions to test the implementation of an18-month examination cycle.

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Matz held firm in her assertion that moving to an 18-month examperiod at the same time many of the agency's regulatory reliefproposals become effective would be an irresponsible approach. Sheprovided a similar response a day earlier during the November NCUA board meeting.

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Paul Gentile, president/CEO for the Cooperative Credit Union Association, told CU Timesthat the meeting lent to a “very collaborative environment.” Headded Matz engaged with credit union leaders and took “an openminded approach” to the meeting.

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In regard to Matz's discussion on the 18-month examinationcycle, Gentile said, “One of the most compelling discussion pointsabout 18 months was when the chairman mentioned how sometimes verywell-run, low-risk credit unions can change direction quickly if anew CEO comes in. I think that's exactly the type of discussion weshould be having. A change in leadership, a change in key datapoints, a change in product offerings are all things that could bethe triggers for what type of exam cycle a credit union is on. Icontinue to believe that's the healthy dialogue that the NCUA andcredit union community should have.”

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Gentile added the exam cycle was consistently identified by hismembers as a tangible way to provide regulatory relief.

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“A pilot would be a healthy approach and would show the systemthat (the) NCUA is serious about this issue and serious about regrelief on the exam front,” he said. “Chairman Matz seemed openminded to this concept and that's positive tosee.”

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NCUA Public Affairs Specialist John Fairbanks told CUTimes the agency “is not locked into an annual examinationcycle, and, in future years, the board may consider moving to an18-month cycle for credit unions that pose less risk to the ShareInsurance Fund.”

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The agency would need additional time to evaluate the impact ofregulatory relief measures before the agency could have thatconversation, according to Fairbanks. He added a pilot programwould push back the consideration of a move to any kind of 18-monthprogram because it would need to “organize, implement and evaluatethe results of such a pilot program.”

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Still, while Matz may be considering the 18-month cycle, it isnot enough for some. Rep. Guinta said in a statement that he andothers have pressed the chairman to “stay true to her agency'spromised year of regulatory relief. So far, results have beenmeager.”

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