Today the American Bankers Association sent a letter to the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) requesting a “top-to-bottom assessment” of whether the modern day credit union industry is meeting its targeted, statutory mission to serve people of “small means.” The formal request follows this week’s release of a comprehensive new report from Federal Financial Analytics that documents how many in the industry are falling short of that goal. Given the questions the report raises about NCUA’s oversight of the industry, the ABA letter also asks the NCUA Inspector General to investigate the report’s findings.
“Federal Financial Analytics’ report identifies several troubling issues that merit further investigation by NCUA’s Inspector General, and action by the NCUA Board,” ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols writes in the letter. “This report should serve as a wake-up call to the agency that this $1.5 trillion-dollar industry cannot be trusted to meet its statutory mission to serve low- and moderate-income households without appropriate oversight.” Among the findings in the report that ABA asks NCUA to review:
- NCUA needs to impose mission-related requirements
- NCUA regulation and supervision is substandard and poses increasing risks to the credit union system
- NCUA’s definition of “low-income” is misleading, but carries consequences in the marketplace
- Credit unions’ mandate to offer credit for “provident or productive” purposes is all but ignored by NCUA regulation
- Credit union acquisitions of banks show a changed mission
Beyond the letter to NCUA, ABA is considering additional steps it can take in response to the report and its findings. The American Bankers Association is the voice of the nation’s $18 trillion banking industry, which is composed of small, regional and large banks. Together, America’s banks employ more than 2 million men and women, safeguard nearly $14 trillion in deposits and extend more than $10 trillion in loans.