ALEXANDRIA, Va. (June 25, 2015) – Regulatory relief is making a stronger, safer credit union system that can better serve members, NCUA Board Chairman Debbie Matz said today.
Matz spoke to more than 1,300 credit union representatives at the National Association of Federal Credit Unions’ annual conference in Montreal, Canada. She discussed her regulatory relief agenda for 2015 and said safety, soundness and member service drive that agenda.
“Credit unions are about community,” Matz said. “Credit unions see neighbors, not numbers. You price your services to put people ahead of profit. As long as your credit union is safe and sound and doesn’t put your fellow credit unions at risk, you should be free to make your own decisions to best serve your members.
“It wasn’t too long ago that I was working in a federal credit union and dealt with many of the challenges you’re dealing with today,” Matz said. “That’s why, as Chairman, I have listened with an open mind and offered you an open door.”
Matz has declared 2015 to be the “Year of Regulatory Relief.” She spoke about six particular areas in which NCUA is streamlining, modernizing or eliminating regulation: member business lending, fields of membership, supplemental capital, fixed assets, asset securitization and providing more relief for small credit unions. The full text of her speech is available online here
The Time Has Arrived for a Modern Member Business Lending Rule
The NCUA Board unanimously approved a proposed rule to modernize member business lending at its June meeting, and Matz said the time has arrived for the agency to stop using a prescriptive approach to regulating business lending.
“We are moving away from a prescriptive approach and toward a principle-based approach that gives credit unions more flexibility to serve business owners,” Matz said. “We’re proposing to get NCUA out of the business loan approval process altogether. Our modernized rule will reflect the fact that you know your members better than we do.”
Key changes included in the proposed rule would give credit unions the ability to waive a personal guarantee, remove explicit loan-to-value limits and waivers, lift limits on construction and development loans and clarify that non-member loan participations will not count against the statutory member business lending cap.
Giving Credit Unions More Chances to Add Membership
Federal credit unions will soon have greater flexibility to expand their fields of membership under a rule approved by the NCUA Board in April.
The new rule, which takes effect July 6, more clearly defines which associational groups do or do not qualify for membership and added 12 categories of associational groups that federal credit unions can add automatically.
“While many field-of-membership restrictions are statutory, we’re not waiting for Congress to act,” Matz said. “Later this year, we’re going to propose additional sensible rule changes within NCUA’s legal authority designed to broaden community charters, improve occupational charters and streamline processes for federal credit unions to add new members.”
More Items on the Regulatory Relief Agenda
Matz also described several other regulatory relief initiatives underway at NCUA, including:
- A new rule allowing certain forms of debt to count as supplemental capital for the risk-based capital rule. The change is in addition to regulatory relief recently provided by NCUA to increase access to secondary capital for low-income credit unions by making changes to the National Supervision Policy Manual.
- A proposed rule on fixed assets would provide about 3,800 federal credit unions with relief by eliminating the current five-percent aggregate limit on investments in fixed assets.
- A new asset securitization rule to permit the largest credit unions to tap new sources of liquidity and reduce interest-rate risk by converting fixed-rate assets into cash.
- A proposed rule to raise the asset ceiling for defining a small credit union to $100 million from the current $50 million, giving more than three out of four credit unions special consideration for reduced regulatory compliance requirements or exemptions in future agency rulemakings.
Matz concluded with a reminder that NCUA’s overall goal is the same as the credit unions the agency regulates and insures.
“The new regulatory relief and freedoms I’m describing will strengthen and secure credit unions for generations to come,” Matz said. “As each of your credit unions grows stronger, the entire credit union system grows stronger. This is our shared goal, and I am confident it will be our shared success.”
NCUA is the independent federal agency created by the U.S. Congress to regulate, charter and supervise federal credit unions. With the backing of the full faith and credit of the United States, NCUA operates and manages the National Credit Union Share
Insurance Fund, insuring the deposits of account holders in all federal credit unions and the overwhelming majority of
state-chartered credit unions. At MyCreditUnion.gov, NCUA also educates the public on consumer protection and financial literacy issues.