Friday, January 06, 2017

NCUA: Requests For Comment On FOIA... Part 5.

Lots of folks believe that reform at the NCUA is a pipe dream, just not possible. But with the prospect of a new Chair, personally I still have great hopes for fundamental, positive changes at the Agency - and soon! The changes required, however, are not incremental tweaks, they are a complete "about face" in terms of [you guessed it!] accountability, competency, and transparency.

In "FOIA... Part 4" offered up an easy test for the current NCUA Board leadership to demonstrate its commitment to a new day at NCUA - simply tell credit unions and the American public what internal changes were made at the Agency to prevent the repeated misuse of FOIA by the NCUA staff  [here's the link] as acknowledged under oath at the House Financial Services Committee on July 23, 2015.

Here's a description from the FDIC leadership of why reestablishing trust at the NCUA is so important. While Mr. Hoenig is chastising our friends over in the banking industry... the same "reputational damage" has occurred - and continues to exist - at the NCUA:

"In a stern critique of the banking industry, FDIC board member Thomas Hoenig said in a recent speech that bankers do not fully appreciate the public's rebuke of the industry.  "It is alarming that some CEOs of some financial firms fail to grasp why they are trusted so little nor appreciate the reputational damage they caused their industry.  
B-oink! B-oink!
They acknowledge very little offense in taking a public subsidy and squandering it in a series of actions that place billions of taxpayer dollars at risk."                                             

Can you think of any  "offensive" billion dollar squandering that has occurred at the NCUA, that has opened them to "public rebuke"

Well, the WALL STREET JOURNAL thought "they smelled a rat" at NCUA over contingency legal fees when the bill was "just $40 million" [note the date of the article - 2012!!]: 

"Nice Payday for Toxic Work"
(Oct. 24, 2012):

The article describes an apparent "insider deal" by NCUA for legal services in connection with lawsuits involving the corporates.  The law firms were hired on a contingency fee basis netting around $40 million. A 2007 Executive Order "prohibits federal agencies from entering into these arrangements with outside attorneys."

"A Justice Department spokeswoman said that officials were unaware of any other federal agency that has outside firms on contingency fee contracts."

"The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. generally avoids contingency fee arrangements, an FDIC spokesman said."

Mr. John Ianno, NCUA's associate general counsel, said in the article that the process of selecting the firms wasn't public, other firms were not interviewed, and that "the Agency doesn't have to follow the Executive Order because it is an independent agency..."

... and inexplicably the NCUA, to quote Mr. Hoenig: ... "fails to grasp why they are trusted so little nor appreciate the reputational damage they caused..."

So,  here's a second, public "FOIA request" for the NCUA Board: Please vote to publish those legal agreement contracts at the January 19, 2017 meeting. 



Anonymous said...

NCUA paid over $1 BILLION in legal fees, not $40 million.
$1 BILLION. With a B.

How is this not front page...
How is it that this is accepted without disgust, without a murmur?

Jim Blaine said...

That's right! The bill is now over $1.1 billion and rising.

The point is that the NCUA, the CU trades and you and I got a "free FOIA notice" courtesy of the WSJ at the $40 million mark on this "rat with stench" and nothing was done within the Agency to correct the problem before it grew worse. In fact Mr. Ianno and the entire Agency told the WSJ and told the American public "to stuff it"!.

Chair Metsger has written a letter to Mr. Mulvaney saying "while I wasn't on the Board at the time..." everything is fine with this $1.1+billion dollar legal bill.... that's the problem with this Agency and its staff that just won't go away...

...[ in fear of being redundant], the Agency is neither accountable, competent, nor transparent!

But you can help pay for this state of affairs by coughing up a $300 to $600 million assessment later this year to help pay for that lack of A.C.T.!! Who can hold the Agency to task if Mr. Metsger endorse the current state of ACT as acceptable?

Anonymous said...

The trades and multiple news sources have FOIA'd the NCUA and they deny all requests. All.

Anonymous said...

"The trades and multiple news sources have foia'd..."

That may be true and have no reason to doubt, BUT....

...INSTEAD of writing countless and stupid letters maybe NAFCU should have earned their fees and written DAILY in every venue available exposing the egregious behavior on this $1.1 BILLION paid.

Since CUNA wouldn't even think of doing so.

Not a murmur, no complaints, no righteous

And THATS called no Accountability, C, T.

William Brooks said...

Credit unions should demand that NCUA freeze all spending! Reduce all discretionary spending and consider staff reductions to match reductions at other regulatory agencies. If after a good faith round of expense cutting is done and their is still a need for more funds, credit unions might consider providing a bailout!

It he NCUA Board can't or won't credit union should demand an independent conservator to make the spending cuts and manage the budget!

Dennis Moriarity said...

Demand all you want it ain't going to happen. NCUA laughs at efforts to reform. They laugh at FOIA requests cause they know they wont have to comply with anything that may indict them. This is a practiced group that has the experience and know how to roadblock every attempt. Sorry to continue to say it but the only thing that will work is to ask Congress to fold their overpaid tent and stick CU's in with another regulator. Maybe the Trades can carry that water and maybe Congress can find it in itself to give us that relief.

Anonymous said...

Remind me why "The Trades" exist. Thought it was to be the watchdog of the agency for the CUs who DO NOT have the time to deal with NCUA crookedness. Not the time OR the money. Where ARE the trades? Why aren't they suing NCUA for both the information and for flagrant non-compliance?!! Talk about getting the industry behind either CUNA or NAFCU! If one of the big boys would do their job, lots of CUs would back them. What's going on?! Instead we have the 4000th salvo on taxation as the #1 issue. Come on, stop redoing the legislative program of 1970. CUs are going away. Advocate FOR them in some measure.
Writing letters to that smug grooup of staff at NCUA,unless you send it to the board too, is a TOTAL waste of time. And it is still a waste of time. Except that the Board can't claim ignorance.

Anonymous said...

It becomes clearer that our main problem is not the banks.

Anonymous said...

What's the NCUA spending in a year divided by the assets of all cus and also divided by the number of cus??
Per year for last 10'years.
Now do it for FDIC.

Robusterian THAT ONE for me please.