Credit Unions Offer Insights on Priorities for NCUA; Grassroots Organization Continues to Seek Input

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As another means to provide the credit unions a voice for regulatory priorities, Co-Ops for Change launched a nationwide survey in April 2013.

As another means to provide the credit unions a voice for regulatory priorities, Co-Ops for Change launched a nationwide survey in April 2013. The 19-question survey, open to all credit unions, focuses on two subjects crucial to the future of credit union regulation: examinations and policy priorities. Preliminary results from 120 credit unions are in. They reflect a deep need for change in several areas.

When asked whether or not the “NCUA has been innovative in its approach to examinations,” nearly half of all respondents (49.1%) indicated that the Agency has not been innovative in their experience. Further, regarding examination reports and ratings, 46.2% of respondents feel standards are not objective and clear; and 54.3% believe examiner issuance of DORs inconsistently interpreted rules.

Nearly three-fourths of respondents (71.0%) indicated it is “important” or “extremely important” for there to be an independent ombudsman (outside NCUA) to whom exam issues can referred.

An important survey finding relates to respondents’ thoughts on the regulator as an industry advocate. When asked whether NCUA should publicly report on credit unions’ contributions to national economic priorities (e.g. student lending, loan refinancing and first-time home buyer programs) to document the role of cooperative solutions, the overwhelming majority (82.4%) stated that this is an “important” or “extremely important” activity of the regulator. Finally, when asked to reflect on the importance of having positions that oversee the use of the NCUSIF and CLF funds to include credit union and state regulatory representation, 81% of respondents stated it was “important” or “extremely important.”

“Co-Ops 4 Change was founded with the intent to promote NCUA policy decisions based on cooperative principles,” said Callahan & Associates Founder & Chairman, Chip Filson. "To succeed cooperatives need to align credit union and regulatory priorities; this survey is a first step to do that.”

The survey provides a means for financial cooperatives to have their voices heard in the governance of the system and is part of Co-Ops for Change’s overarching goal to better align credit unions and the regulator’s agenda. The first effort, the White House petition requesting President Obama nominate NCUA board members who understand cooperative principles, garnered more than 6,000 signatures in the 30-day window provided by the White House petition process.

The Co-Ops for Change survey is still open, with results tabulated monthly. Credit unions leaders and volunteers who wish to join the conversation are invited to take the survey today.

About Co-Ops for Change

Co-Ops for Change is a grassroots movement to increase awareness both within the credit union community and among elected policymakers that our regulatory leadership should understand and support the seven cooperative principles. The regulatory process should consider credit unions’ cooperative character, as well as the shared economic value they create for people and communities. Credit union members, volunteers, professionals and industry supporters can learn more about the campaign at http://www.Coops4Change.org.

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Carissa Heckathorn
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