Frequently Asked Questions Regarding COVID-19, NCUA and Credit Union Operations

Last Updated: 4/8/2020

1. What flexibilities exist for federally insured credit unions (FCUs) in planning annual meetings?

2. If a FCU delays its annual meeting and election, what happens to the FCU’s Board?

3. What flexibilities exist for FCU monthly Board of Directors meetings?

4. May a FCU restrict access or close its facilities?

5. What impact is this having on the NCUA’s examination and supervision program?

6. NCUA Letter to Credit Unions 20-CU-05 notes outreach from examiners will take place between March 30 and April 10, to serve as a baseline for monitoring each credit union’s condition. How will this process work?

7. What technology is available to credit unions to share exam documents with their examiners?

8. What if COVID-19 disrupts a credit union’s ability to file its quarterly Call Report timely?

9. Can a credit union use the NCUA’s Central Liquidity Facility (CLF) for contingent liquidity purposes?

10. What other options do credit unions have to manage any impact on liquidity of the COVID-19 situation?

11. Are there any scams related to the coronavirus that credit unions and consumers should be aware?

12. Will the deadline for updating the CUSO Registry be extended?

13. Will the deadline for credit unions to submit their annual capital plan and/or stress testing be extended?

14. Will credit unions be given guidance on working with borrowers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?

15. Will credit unions be given additional time to file required Bank Secrecy Act reports?

16. Does the NCUA have resources available to assist credit unions and consumers with questions on share insurance?

17. Does the NCUA have grants available to help credit unions affected by COVID-19?

18. Are credit unions and their employees considered part of the critical infrastructure workforce? We need to decide who should be in the office, remote, or not required to work during this pandemic.

19. Will the CFPB extend the deadline to file quarterly Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) and Regulation C reporting?

20. Will the NCUA allow credit unions to apply for streamlined CDFI certification in 2020?

21. How can I report if a credit union branch has suspended all operations?

22. How does the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act affect my credit union?

23. Do credit unions qualify for the tax credits in the CARES Act? Are credit unions eligible for the refundable credit of $10,000 per employee for 50 percent of wages paid from March 13 through December 31? If a credit union closes branches that do not have a drive-thru and/or closes branch lobbies that do have drive-thrus, is this considered part of the full or partial shutdown order due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

24. How can a credit union apply for an exemption to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which now applies to employers with less than 50 employees?

25. For credit union audits that were engaged before the change to Part 715 of the NCUA Rules and Regulations took effect, will there will be exceptions for credit unions that cannot meet the 120-day deadline for audit reports due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

26. What options are available for credit unions and external auditors to deliver an audit report to examiners?

27. Are there any guidelines on limiting Supervisory Committee work plans during the COVID-19 pandemic? Credit unions would prefer to keep committee members out of our office during this period. Will this cause an issue later with examiners?

 

1. What flexibilities exist for federal credit unions (FCUs) in planning annual meetings?

The NCUA recognizes the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting federal credit unions and their members to varying degrees. I want to assure you that the NCUA is doing all we can to address the situation.

Because of President Trump’s national emergency proclamation on March 13, effective immediately, a federal credit union may adopt, by a two-thirds vote of its board of directors, a bylaw amendment to Article IV without undergoing further bylaw approval processes with the NCUA. FCUs that choose to adopt this amendment should ensure that the cross-citations conform to their version of the bylaws. Please refer to Letter to Federal Credit Unions 20-FCU-02 – NCUA Actions Related to COVID-19 – Annual Meeting Flexibility for details.

An FCU also has flexibility to postpone its annual meeting. While there is no law or regulation that prohibits a FCU from postponing its annual meeting, it should provide notice of the rescheduled meeting as required in the FCU Bylaws. Under current circumstances, an FCU might consider delaying its annual meeting until a more appropriate time. For example, an FCU could delay its 2020 annual meeting to December 2020 and still meet the annual meeting requirement.

An FCU can amend the date of its annual meeting by using the fill-in-the-blank provision in its bylaws with the two-thirds vote of its board, without seeking the NCUA’s approval. Such a change to the annual meeting date can be made to apply only to 2020, to multiple successive years, or permanently, at the FCU’s discretion. For example, if the FCU wants to delay the 2020 annual meeting until August 2020, it could still resume holding annual meetings in 2021 in the month (for example, April) that it would normally hold such meetings.

The FCU Bylaws (Art. IV, § 5) also permit adjournment of a meeting for lack of a quorum, but the reconvened meeting must occur seven to 14 days after the originally scheduled meeting. In some cases, this provision could provide sufficient flexibility, depending on the date of the meeting. Finally, the FCU Bylaws (Art. XVII, § 7) allow four options for conducting elections. If a credit union’s board or management determines that a different option would be more convenient, they may amend the credit union’s bylaws with the vote of two-thirds of the directors.

If you have questions, please contact your examiner or regional office.

2. If a FCU delays its annual meeting and election, what happens to the FCU’s Board?

Under the FCU Bylaws, the term of a FCU director continues until “the election and qualification of successors.” Accordingly, if a FCU delays an annual meeting, the current directors’ terms continue until the FCU holds its meeting and election. If there is a vacancy on the Board, the FCU may fill it by a majority vote of the remaining directors. Directors appointed in this manner, however, hold office only until the next meeting.

3. What flexibilities exist for FCU monthly Board of Directors meetings?

The FCU Act requires FCU Boards to meet monthly.1 The FCU bylaws require only one face-to-face board of directors meeting per year. All other meetings may be conducted by video or teleconference. The one in-person meeting requires the actual presence of only a quorum of directors, not every director. Absent directors may participate by video or teleconference.2

4. May a FCU restrict access or close its facilities?

Yes. A FCU may adopt reasonable measures to safeguard the health and safety of its staff and members. CUs taking these measures, however, should ensure they apply the policy in a uniform and consistent manner. FCUs should follow the direction of any federal, state or local authorities with respect to social distancing or related measures. The NCUA encourages credit unions to follow the CDC guidelines when implementing extra health and safety precautions or procedures (for example, distancing, gloves, facemasks, sneeze guards, cleaning, etc.).

There is no federal law or regulation that requires FCUs to be open certain hours or days or that would prevent a FCU from closing its offices. Credit unions have the flexibility to make reasonable, good faith decisions to close branches and offer members services available through other channels such as by phone, at automated teller machines, or via online and mobile platforms. This can include situations where advance notice is not feasible as a closure may need to occur quickly. Decisions to close branches can be ratified by the credit union board by email or at the next board meeting. Credit unions do not need to notify the NCUA of branch closures unless there is an interruption in vital member services exceeding two days, in which case credit unions have five days to notify their regional director as set forth in 12 C.F.R. 748.1(b). FISCUs may be subject to different requirements under state law or regulation.

5. What impact is this having on the NCUA’s examination and supervision program?

Beginning Monday, March 16, the NCUA implemented policy that requires all examination-related staff to perform their work offsite. Effective March 30, the agency extended this offsite posture until May 1, 2020. This policy will be reevaluated at least every two weeks and is subject to change. Any exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Office of the Executive Director. Generally staff will not be scheduling any onsite exam work until further notice. However, NCUA may conduct onsite work at a credit union if necessary to deal with an exigent circumstance.3

Our examiners will take advantage of technology to securely exchange information, and will use teleconference and videoconference capabilities to interact with credit union management.

On March 30, 2020, the NCUA released Letter to Credit Unions 20-CU-05 – Offsite Examination and Supervision Approach to provide credit unions guidance on our examination and supervision program during the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter emphasizes open communication between examiners and credit unions. It also advises credit unions that the agency recognizes credit unions may need additional time to correct outstanding examination findings and that the NCUA will be flexible and reasonable when working with credit unions on corrective action (including Documents of Resolution, Letters of Understanding and Agreement, and Preliminary Warning Letters).

6. NCUA Letter to Credit Unions 20-CU-05 notes outreach from examiners will take place between March 30 and April 10, to serve as a baseline for monitoring each credit union’s condition. How will this process work?

As outlined in NCUA Letter to Credit Unions 20-CU-05, examiners will contact each federal credit union periodically to discuss its operational and financial status, including whether any assistance is needed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic or any associated challenges. For state-chartered credit unions, the NCUA will work with the appropriate state supervisory authority to conduct these assessments. Using a process that includes a specific set of questions, examiners will capture key details about how the credit union is affected by COVID-19, then based on that information, the NCUA will direct resources and assistance where it is most needed. As credit unions work through COVID-19-related challenges, it will be important to maintain open lines of communications. The information requested as part of this outreach effort should take a minimal amount of credit union staff time. Before initiating contact, examiners will review your credit union’s website to glean as much information as possible about its operational status, thereby leading to a more productive conversation. In addition, if you have already provided information to your League, you may forward that to your examiner. While more information may be needed, the sharing of these requests will help us conduct these assessments in a more efficient manner.

The initial outreach began on March 30, and examiners are now in the process of contacting credit union staff to set up a mutually agreeable time to discuss the credit union’s condition and any associated challenges. If you are unable to find time to speak with your examiner by April 10, please contact them and provide a time when you will be available.

We thank you in advance for assisting our exam staff in implementing this task as we understand you are dealing with many tasks during this unprecedented time. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your examiner or regional office.

7. What technology is available to credit unions to share exam documents with their examiners?

Examiners and credit unions can exchange information through the NCUA’s Secure File Transfer Portal. A credit union guide for using the SFTP portal is available online, and provides instructions to access and use the portal. The Secure File Transfer Portal is a protected workspace where NCUA staff and partners can share large or sensitive files.

The SFTP portal is the preferred method for exchanging information; however, other secure methods may be used to share examination documents:
NCUA examiners can initiate an encrypted email exchange using the Zix Gateway. Recipients without Zixit will receive an email notification and, for first time users, will be required to register an account to receive the secure email message. Returning users will enter their password to sign in to receive the secure email message. To respond securely, recipients must respond using the link within the original encrypted email message.

Password-protected zip files may be used. Strong passwords should be used. NCUA examiners must use strong passwords that meet current agency requirements.

Credit union file transfer portals are permitted under certain conditions. NCUA examiners may use a credit union’s portal or other non-portable electronic transmission solution to download electronic documents that contain PII. NCUA staff will not use a credit union or third party provided solution to upload or transfer any electronic documents (whether they contain PII or not) to the credit union or third party.

8. What if COVID-19 disrupts a credit union’s ability to file its quarterly Call Report timely?

The NCUA recognizes that some credit unions may experience disruptions in operations because of the impact of COVID-19, and joined the federal financial institution regulatory agencies in issuing an interagency press release recognizing that financial institutions, including credit unions, may need additional time to submit their quarterly call report. Credit unions encountering such problems and not able to meet the filing deadline are encouraged to file as soon as possible thereafter and inform the NCUA’s Office of Examination and Insurance at CallReportLateFiler@ncua.gov. The NCUA will not take action against any credit union for submitting the March 31, 2020 Call Report after the respective filing deadline as long as the report is submitted within 30 days of the official file date of Sunday, April 26, 2020. State-chartered credit unions should contact their respective state regulator in addition to notifying the NCUA.

9. Can a credit union use the NCUA’s Central Liquidity Facility (CLF) for contingent liquidity purposes?

Yes, access to the CLF is voluntary and open to all credit unions that join the CLF and purchase a prescribed amount of stock. There are two types of membership: natural-person credit unions (a “regular” member) and corporate credit unions (an “agent” member).

Natural-person credit unions can borrow from the CLF either directly as a regular member or indirectly through an agent member. The purpose of the CLF is to improve general financial stability by providing credit unions a source of loans to meet their liquidity needs and encourage savings, support consumer and mortgage lending, and provide basic financial resources to all segments of the economy.

Information about borrowing from the CLF, including how to become a member, is available online at https://www.ncua.gov/support-services/central-liquidity-facility.

10. What other options do credit unions have to manage any impact on liquidity of the COVID-19 situation?

Credit unions should evaluate their contingent liquidity plans in light of the current environment. They should also monitor their standard sources of funding to determine if a contingent source from a backup provider may be necessary and if so become reacquainted with how such access works. For credit unions with access, the Federal Reserve’s ‘discount window’ is available to assist with eligible depository institutions, including credit unions. Federal Reserve lending to depository institutions plays an important role in supporting the liquidity and stability of the banking system and the effective implementation of monetary policy. By providing ready access to a backup source of funding, the discount window helps depository institutions manage their liquidity risks efficiently and avoid actions that have negative consequences for their customers. Thus, the discount window supports the smooth flow of credit to households and businesses. Providing liquidity in this way is one of the original purposes of the Federal Reserve System and other central banks. Additionally, credit unions that are members of the Central Liquidity Facility can borrow funds for their liquidity needs and membership is open to all credit unions.

11. Are there any scams related to the coronavirus that credit unions and consumers should be aware of?

On March 6, 2020 the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released an alert reminding individuals to remain vigilant for scams related to the coronavirus. Cyber actors may send emails with malicious attachments or links to fraudulent websites to trick victims into revealing sensitive information or donating to fraudulent charities or causes. Exercise caution in handling any email with a COVID-19-related subject line, attachment, or hyperlink, and be wary of social media pleas, texts, or calls related to COVID-19.

CISA encourages individuals to remain vigilant and take the following precautions.

12. Will the deadline for updating the CUSO Registry be extended?

Yes, the deadline to register for the CUSO Registry will be extended from March 31, 2020 to April 30, 2020. CUSOs that have not registered or updated their registration received an automated email from noreply@ncua.gov announcing the extension. Credit unions and CUSOs will questions may contact CUSORegistry@ncua.gov.

13. Will the deadline for credit unions to submit their annual capital plan and/or stress testing be extended?

Yes, the deadline for credit unions required to submit the annual capital plan and/or stress testing results by May 31, will be extended to Aug. 31, 2020. The Office of National Examinations and Supervision will individually contact credit unions meeting the criteria.

14. Will credit unions be given guidance on working with borrowers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Yes, the federal financial institution regulatory agencies and the state banking regulators issued an interagency statement encouraging financial institutions, including credit unions to work constructively with borrowers affected by COVID-19 and providing additional information regarding loan modifications and troubled debt restructurings. This guidance will be updated in light of the CARES Act.

The NCUA’s Letter to Credit Unions 20-CU-04 – Responsible Small-Dollar Lending in Response to COVID-19, outlines an additional joint statement from the federal financial regulators, and encourages credit unions to use responsible small-dollar lending to help meet the credit needs of consumers and small business members during the pandemic.

15. Will credit unions be given additional time to file required Bank Secrecy Act reports?

FinCEN provided guidance on March 16, 2020 requesting financial institutions, including credit unions affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to contact FinCEN and their NCUA examiner as soon as possible if a COVID-19-affected financial institution has a concern about any potential delays in its ability to file required Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) reports. FinCEN updated their guidance on April 3, 2020 regarding compliance with BSA obligations, beneficial ownership information collection requirements for existing customers, BSA reporting obligations, and updates to currency transaction report (CTR) filing obligations.

FinCEN has created a COVID-19-specific online contact mechanism, via a specific drop-down category, for financial institutions to communicate to FinCEN COVID-19-related concerns while adhering to their BSA obligations. Credit unions that wish to communicate such COVID-19-related concerns to FinCEN must go to FinCEN's website, click on “Need Assistance,” and select “COVID19” in the subject drop-down list. Such COVID-19-related communications are strongly encouraged but not required. FinCEN’s Regulatory Support Section will continue to be available to support financial institutions for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Credit unions are encouraged to keep FinCEN, their NCUA examiner, and state regulator (if applicable) informed as their circumstances change. FinCEN also advises credit unions to remain alert about malicious or fraudulent transactions that often occur in the wake of natural disasters.

16. Does the NCUA have resources available to assist credit unions and consumers with questions on share insurance?

The NCUA consumer website contains a share insurance toolkit page to give consumers information on share insurance, including an online share insurance estimator. For additional questions about NCUA’s share insurance coverage, call 1.800.755.1030, option 1, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or send an email to dcamail@ncua.gov. The Office of Credit Union Resources and Expansion conducted two share insurance webinars in 2018. The webinars and Q&A from the webinars are archived on NCUA’s Learning Management Service website. Scroll down the page and under the webinar section, select Share Insurance, Part 1 and Share Insurance, Part 2.

17. Does the NCUA have grants available to help credit unions affected by COVID-19?

Yes, federally insured, low-income designated credit unions that experience unexpected costs because of the COVID-19 pandemic can request urgent needs grants up to $7,500 from the NCUA. Applicant credit unions must have a composite CAMEL rating of “3” or better to qualify for a grant. One COVID-19 grant is allowed per credit union. The NCUA’s Office of Credit Union Resources and Expansion (CURE) plans to offer an additional grant round beginning May 1. Please refer to the CURE webpage for further information.

Refer to the Office of Credit Union Resources and Expansion webpage, or contact cureapps@ncua.gov.

18. Are credit unions and their employees considered part of the critical infrastructure workforce? We need to decide who should be in the office, remote, or not required to work during this pandemic.

The NCUA’s Letter to Credit Unions 20-CU-03 – Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19, can help credit unions and their industry partners identify critical infrastructure sectors and essential workers. Essential workers are needed to maintain the services and functions Americans depend on daily support the resilience of critical infrastructure sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic response.

The NCUA letter references the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s guidance on defining essential critical infrastructure workers. Promoting the ability of such workers to continue to work during periods of community restriction, access management, social distancing, or closure orders/directives is crucial to community resilience and continuity of essential functions.

19. Will the CFPB extend the deadline to file quarterly Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) and Regulation C reporting?

Yes. On March 26, the CFPB announced the Bureau will not expect quarterly information reporting by certain mortgage lenders as required under HMDA and Regulation C. While quarterly reporting has been postponed, credit unions should continue collecting and recording HMDA data in anticipation of making an annual submission.

20. Will the NCUA allow credit unions to apply for streamlined CDFI certification in 2020?

Yes, the streamlined CDFI certification round opens March 29, 2020 and the deadline for submitting an application has been extended to May 31, 2020. Credit unions that obtain CDFI certification can apply for training and competitive award programs provided by the CDFI Fund.

21. How can I report if a credit union branch has suspended all operations?

The CUOnline Profile SITES tab has a site-level operational status indicator. Credit unions should report a site’s operational status as “Normal” if it is offering any type of member services, including online, telephone, or drive-through service. Only report a site as “Suspended – Emergency” if all operations have ceased at the site and there are no other means of providing member services at the site.

Detailed information describing the filing process, including filing deadlines, Call Report forms, and a User’s Guide on available on the NCUA.gov CUOnline webpage. Please contact your district examiner, regional office, or state regulator with Call Report-related questions.

22. How does the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act affect my credit union?

The CARES Act contains numerous provisions to help workers, families, and businesses, including credit unions. Along with provisions for unemployment insurance benefits and loan guarantee programs, it contains provisions to support healthcare workers, fund for COVID-19 testing, and assist severely distressed sectors of the economy. Below are some of the provisions affecting credit unions directly:

  • Central Liquidity Facility (§ 4016):  The changes brought by the CARES Act afford significant liquidity support to the entire credit union system as we work through the COVID-19 pandemic. The CLF is able to borrow from the United States Treasury and make loans to member credit unions and the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF). This ability to borrow was an essential element of the NCUA’s and credit union system’s ability to work through the last financial crisis. The CARES Act makes four amendments to the CLF, all of which sunset or expire on December 31, 2020:
    • Increases the CLF’s maximum legal borrowing authority.
    • Permits temporary access for corporate credit unions, as Agent members to borrow for their own needs.
    • Provides greater flexibility and affordability to Agent members to join and serve smaller groups of their covered institutions than their entire memberships.
    • Provides more clarity and flexibility about the purposes for which the NCUA Board can approve loans by removing the phrase “the Board shall not approve an application for credit the intent of which is to expand credit union portfolios.”

    NCUA staff are working hard to implement the changes brought by the CARES Act. For the most current information or if you have questions, send an email to clfmail@ncua.gov. The Central Liquidity Facility website will be updated soon with the new guidance.

  • Insured Deposits Threshold (§ 4008(b)):  The CARES Act permits the NCUA Board, in coordination with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), to increase by an unlimited amount, or such lower amount as the Board approves, the share insurance coverage on any non-interest bearing transaction accounts in any federally insured credit union until December 31, 2020. The NCUA Board will evaluate whether an increase is needed as the situation around the COVID-19 pandemic evolves.

  • Temporary Relief from Trouble Debt Restructurings (§ 4013):  The law permits financial institutions, including credit unions, to suspend the requirements for categorizing certain loan modifications related to the COVID-19 pandemic as troubled debt restructures. The federal financial regulatory agencies, including the NCUA, will issue guidance on these changes to the law in the near future.

  • Paycheck Protection Program (§§ 1102 and 1109):  The CARES Act authorizes the Small Business Administration (SBA) to create a loan guarantee program, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), to help certain affected businesses meet payroll needs and utilities (including employee salaries, sick leave, other paid leave, and health insurance expenses) resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Entities may include small businesses, 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, veterans organizations described in Section 501(c)(19) of the Internal Revenue Code, Tribal business concerns described in 31(b)(2)(C) of the Small Business Act, independent contractors, and the self-employed. Visit the United States Treasury and Small Business Administration websites for additional information.

  • Optional Temporary Relief from Current Expected Credit Losses (CECL) (§ 4014):  Credit unions are not currently required to comply with CECL, also known as Financial Accounting Standards Board Accounting Standards Update No. 2016-13 (“Measurement of Credit Losses on Financial Instruments”). However, the CARES Act does provide relief from the requirement of complying with CECL until the earlier of December 31, 2020 or the termination of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Along with the above, the CARES Act includes the following consumer protections:

  • Credit Protection During COVID-19 (§ 4021):  The CARES Act requires credit report agency data providers, including credit unions, to report loan modifications as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic as “current” or as the status reported before the accommodation unless the consumer becomes current. This requirement applies throughout the period of accommodation. The loan modifications may include, but are not limited to, forbearance and modified payments. This requirement applies only to accounts for which the consumer has fulfilled requirements of the forbearance or modified payment agreements. This protection is available beginning January 31, 2020 and ends 120 days after enactment or 120 days after the date the national emergency declaration for the coronavirus is terminated, whichever occurs later.

  • Foreclosure Moratorium on Single Family Mortgages and Consumer Right to Request Forbearance (§ 4022):  The CARES Act prohibits foreclosures on all single family federally backed mortgage loans for 60 days, beginning on March 18, 2020 and ending on May 17, 2020. It provides up to 180 days of forbearance for borrowers of a federally backed mortgage who experience a financial hardship related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Borrowers are not required to provide further documentation. Applicable mortgages include those purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, insured or guaranteed by HUD, VA, or USDA, or made directly by the USDA. This requirement terminates December 31, 2020 or termination of the COVID-19 public health emergency, whichever occurs earlier.

  • Forbearance of Residential Mortgage Loan Payments for Multifamily Properties with Federally Backed Loans (§ 4023):  The CARES Act provides up to 90 days’ forbearance for borrowers with a federally backed multifamily mortgage loan who experience a financial hardship. Borrowers who receive forbearance may not evict or charge late fees to tenants for the duration of the forbearance period. Applicable mortgages include loans to real property designed for five or more families that are purchased, insured, or assisted by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, HUD, or any other federal agency. This requirement terminates December 31, 2020 or termination of the COVID-19 public health emergency, whichever occurs earlier.

The federal financial regulatory agencies released an interagency statement providing needed regulatory flexibility to enable mortgage servicers, including credit unions, to work with struggling consumers affective by the COVID-19 pandemic.

23. Do credit unions qualify for the tax credits in the CARES Act? Are credit unions eligible for the refundable credit of $10,000 per employee for 50 percent of wages paid from March 13 through December 31? If a credit union closes branches that do not have a drive-thru and/or closes branch lobbies that do have drive-thrus, is this considered part of the full or partial shutdown order due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Section 2301 of the CARES Act provides for credits against employment taxes for “eligible employers.” This section has provisions that specifically address non-profit organizations. We recommend contacting a tax advisor and/or reviewing IRS guidance.

24. How can a credit union apply for an exemption to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which now applies to employers with less than 50 employees?

The FFCRA is being implemented by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). We recommend contacting an advisor on employment law matters and/or reviewing detailed guidance from the DOL, which also issued a temporary rule on April 1 that address exemptions for small employers.

25. For credit union audits that were engaged before the change to Part 715 of the NCUA Rules and Regulations took effect, will there will be exceptions for credit unions that cannot meet the 120-day deadline for audit reports due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Part 715 of the NCUA Rules and Regulations was amended by the NCUA Board on September 19, 2019. The amended rule removed the 120-day restriction. Therefore, credit unions and accounting professionals can agree on a reasonable timeframe for delivering an audit report, taking into consideration the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, for all audits with a December 31, 2019 effective date and going forward. Examiners will not take exception to an audit report that is delivered later than the agreed upon date in the engagement letter.

26. What options are available for credit unions and external auditors to deliver an audit report to examiners?

Credit unions and external auditors can deliver audit reports using the RIVIO clearinghouse, which allows credit unions to authorize the release of audit reports from external auditors directly to examiners or other third-parties. External auditors may also use the Secure File Transfer Portal to send the audit report. To use the workspace, please contact your examiner.

27. Are there any guidelines on limiting Supervisory Committee work plans during the COVID-19 pandemic? Credit unions would prefer to keep committee members out of our office during this period. Will this cause an issue later with examiners?

A credit union may adopt reasonable measures to safeguard the health and safety of its staff and members. Credit unions should follow the direction of any federal, state or local authorities with respect to social distancing or related measures.

Supervisory Committees at federal credit unions should work with credit union management on options to complete their work plans, including using a virtual environment, being in the office observing federal, state, or local social distancing guidelines or related measures, or postponing work as necessary. Examiners will be flexible and reasonable with credit unions where work plans were not completed. If you have any questions, please contact your examiner or regional office. For state-chartered credit unions, please contact your state supervisory authority.

 



1 12 U.S.C. § 1761b.
2 FCU Bylaws. Art. VI, § 5.
3 The NCUA is requiring staff to self-isolate and not come to work for 14 days, including at any insured credit union, if they have returned from travel to a country the CDC has designated as a level 3 Travel Health Notice, or if they have contact with anyone travelling from these countries. Staff are also required to self-isolate and not come to work for 14 days if they have close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 or if they exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19.