Defending the agency's legal fees, NCUA Chairman Rick Metsger said that efforts to recover damages associated with the failed corporate credit unions likely would have failed if the board refused to pay legal bills on a contingency basis.

That payment arrangement, of slightly more than $1 billion, was transferred from accounts the NCUA manages from the recoveries from the banks they reached settlement agreements with—leaving the agency with some $3.1 billion in recoveries after the fees and expenses were paid.

The legal fees were paid to two law firms– Korein Tillery and Kellogg and Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel.

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