Monday, November 14, 2016

The NCUA Budget Process: Part 4

The NCUA Board will vote to approve the budget on Thursday.  Time grows short to provide some input! Or perhaps not!

Not?  Well, one of the interesting quirks about the opportunity credit unions have been given to comment, is that the Agency has the ability to readily track the number of your inquiries and "click-thrus" on the budget documents and supporting information provided.

That's a "K" for credit unions!
Guess what? Nobody much is looking! Wonder what that means?  Wonder how Chair Metsger and Mr. McWatters feel about "putting their neck on the line" by inviting comments - y'know "build it and no one came"! Perhaps Ms. Matz was right all along in stating that credit unions really don't care about the NCUA budget - it's just an issue "ginned up" by the trade associations to keep the dues flowing!

Why bother if nobody really gives a rip?

But in fairness, there were several credit union commenters on the budget [here's the link to the written statements].  And, there were many cogent and thoughtful comments woven amidst the "usual-usual" filler and fluff. Here are a couple of the keys:

1) The "credit union trades" (CUNA, NAFCU, several leagues) generally "ran the numbers" using various comparisons with prior years, risk/size, FDIC, etc to attempt to point out excess and inefficiencies within the Agency.
2) NASCUS the state regulators association posed the normal questions about the overhead transfer rate (OTR), separation of the regulatory and insurance functions, and expansion of the NCUA Board to (of course) include a NASCUS member.
3) The National Employees Treasury Union (which represents over 150,000 federal workers including the bulk of the line staff at NCUA) decried the prospective budget cuts which included a potential reduction in 47 examiner positions (out of 810 currently!). NETU made one somewhat startling comment opposing "... increasing funding for additional and unnecessary IT support services".  Wasn't aware that any enterprise these days needed less IT support, rather than more!
4) Several of the individual commenters raised pertinent issues about travel bonuses/duty station pay differentials (there is an internal "gaming" scandal just waiting to happen in these areas!), "creeping complexity", the FTE impact of an 18 month exam cycle, and the need for a review of the 5 regions/ONES structural redundancies, no longer rational in a cyber/electronic/"virtual exam" tech-driven world.  

Many good thoughts, but the three which were perhaps most acute:

"Credit unions and their members need and deserve a world class regulator."
- Jim Nussle, CUNA

"The Agency should be accountable to its funders - credit unions."
- Bill Raker, Firefly CU

"A budget driven by a strategic plan that includes few measurable milestones, that fails to identify who is accountable for accomplishment of those strategic objectives in specific timeframes, and does not provide us all with the economic and financial benefits achieved by the dollars spent, is fundamentally flawed from its very beginning."
- Vic Pantea, CU*Answers

Miss anything? Let's talk about it tomorrow!

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