NCUA Launches Small Business Lending Resource Center
Credit unions have a new online destination for information about member business lending thanks to a webpage released today by the National Credit Union Administration.
Available here, the Small Business Lending Resource page provides detailed information about NCUA’s member business lending rules and regulations, supervisory guidance, links to the Small Business Administration’s loan programs and related articles from The NCUA Report, NCUA’s flagship publication.
“Credit unions do an excellent job of meeting the credit needs of their communities, including many small businesses,” NCUA Board Chairman Debbie Matz said. “This new online portal provides valuable information on how credit unions can prudently lend to their small business members and tap into SBA’s lending programs. I encourage all credit unions to explore this resource and to participate in our upcoming joint webinar with the SBA.”
On Feb. 6, NCUA and the SBA signed a Memorandum of Understanding outlining a series of educational initiatives during the next three years that include webinars, examiner training on SBA programs, data resources and media outreach.
This new partnership kicks off with a joint webinar, “Balancing Member Business Loan Portfolios with SBA Guarantees,” on March 4, 2015, at 2 p.m. Eastern. Interested credit unions can register online athttp://tinyurl.com/933061.
CUNA Seeks Real Life Regulatory Burden Examples for Senate Banking Committee
CUNA launched a new tool last week to help credit unions collect real life examples of how growing regulatory burden results in reduced service for members and/or increased costs to credit unions—a request made last week by the Senate Banking Committee. At a recent Senate Banking Committee hearing, at which CUNA testified, Sen. Richard Shelby (R AL) asked credit unions and community banks to submit concrete examples of how regulations negatively affect service to consumers. Several other senators echoed the Senate Banking Committee chair's request for more information. CUNA believes that the committee's interest in learning more about the regulatory environment signals a serious and welcomed attempt to roll back some of the tide of regulatory and compliance burden that credit unions have been subjected to over the past decade. It is vital that the Senate receives real examples of the negative consequences of unnecessary regulation, and CUNA requests that credit unions use the form to provide examples of how regulatory burden has caused the credit union to: not offer a new service, terminate an existing service, offer a service to fewer members, offer a service at a less attractive price, or generally offer a service in a less beneficial way to members because of a rule or regulation. CUNA will forward all examples to the Senate Banking Committee. Although the form asks credit unions to identify themselves so CUNA can follow up if necessary, a credit union may choose to not be identified in the information provided to the Senate. Please send questions to RegRelief@cuna.coop.
CUNA initiates 'deep dive' into true costs of CU compliance
CUNA will soon launch a comprehensive study and fact-based analysis of the actual compliance costs credit unions face due to regulatory burden. Wally Murray, president/CEO, Greater Nevada CU, Carson City, Nev., announced the initiative in his testimony before the Senate Banking Committee in a Thursday hearing on regulatory relief.
The assessment is intended to be used as an informational resource for policymakers about the full cost of regulatory requirements. Having dollar figure for compliance costs will allow CUNA to advance regulatory relief in the legislative and regulatory arenas.
Sen. David Vitter (R LA) asked witnesses at the Tuesday hearing for specifics when it came to compliance costs, and bank regulators said they could only provide anecdotal information.
Members of the Senate Banking Committee also asked about compliance costs in a regulatory relief hearing Thursday, at which CUNA testified.
CUNA has engaged Cornerstone Advisors, Inc. to review operational, strategic, financial and member impacts of regulations that have come in the post Dodd-Frank Act era.
Cornerstone's efforts will be conducted in two phases. The first will see it perform in-depth analyses of three credit unions of different sizes to see how regulations and regulatory compliance affect operations and costs.
The second phase involves Cornerstone using the information gleaned during the first phase to create a survey that all credit unions can complete, which will gather information about compliance and other regulatory costs facing credit unions today.
The overall process is expected to take from six to eight months.
NCUA issues joint agency guidance promoting youth savings programs
WASHINGTON (2/25/15)--The National Credit Union Administration, along with the other four federal financial regulators, issued guidance Tuesday designed to encourage all financial institutions to offer youth savings programs.
The guidance contains answers to frequently asked questions regarding young consumers' accounts, as well as compliance information for opening such accounts.
Research from the U.S. Treasury indicates that youth savings programs may be effective in helping improve long-term financial and educational outcomes, such as completing college.
Youth savings programs are often structured as in-school credit union programs offering student basic savings accounts. They may also include more complex, asset-building accounts and school district-wide programs. (See related story: Nat'l CU Foundation, CU CEO present youth savings info to FLEC today.)
These programs are generally linked to personal financial management efforts, and include very low minimum balance requirements on accounts.
The guidance does not create any new regulatory policy or establish new industry expectations. In addition to the NCUA, the guidance also was sent out by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve Board, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
New FinCEN website meant to assist FBAR filers
WASHINGTON (2/24/15)--Individuals and institutions that are required to file a Report of Foreign Bank Account (FBAR) have a new resource available on the U.S. Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) website.
FBAR forms are filed annually and are used to report a financial interest in, or signature or other authority over, bank accounts, securities, or other types of financial accounts in foreign countries. FBARs must be filed for accounts that hold over $10,000 in funds at any time during the year.
According to FinCEN, an FBAR filer is considered an individual when he/she personally owns, or jointly owns with a spouse, a reportable foreign financial account that requires the filing of an FBAR for the reportable year.
Individuals may electronically file their FBAR through the BSA E-Filing System without registering for a BSA E-Filing account.
Attorneys and certified public accountants filing FBARs on behalf of clients must register to become an e-filer, and file as an institution rather than an individual. FinCEN's new website contains information on that as well.
FBARs must be filed by June 30, and no extensions are available.
NCUA webinar highlights fair lending examination procedures
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (2/23/15)--A webinar hosted by National Credit Union Administration staff Friday gave credit unions a look at how the agency conducts fair lending examinations.
It is illegal for lenders to discriminate based on race, color, national original, religion, sex, handicap or familial status, and the webinar provided a look at how the NCUA enforces related rules and regulations.
The NCUA supervises and examines federal credit unions with assets of $10 billion or less for compliance with fair lending laws. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau supervises and examines those with $10 billion or more in assets for fair lending compliance.
Matt Biliouris, deputy director of the NCUA's Office of Consumer Protection, said the agency plans to conduct 25 fair lending exams and 50 offsite supervision contacts in 2015.
"Our fair lending exams are an extensive review of a credit union's compliance with fair lending laws. We follow the interagency fair lending examination procedures, which may include extensive transaction testing," he said. "Under our offsite supervision contacts, we review a credit union's compliance management system elements, without any transactional testing."
According to the NCUA, it selects federal credit unions for a fair lending exam or off-site supervision contact if they demonstrate: Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data outliers, member complaints, prior regulatory violations, general compliance risks, whistleblower complaints or receive recommendations from field examiners.
Prohibited practices include:
- Requiring a spouse to co-sign on a loan when the borrower qualifies for the loan on their own creditworthiness;
- Requiring a co-signer to be a spouse for a loan where an additional party is necessary to support the credit requested;
- Evaluating credit score used for joint applicants differently based on whether or not the applicants are married; and
- Favoring persons who are not "elderly," meaning 62 or older, under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.
According to the NCUA, having an effective compliance management system consisting of board and management oversight; policies and procedures; staff training; monitoring, testing and corrective action; compliance audits; and member complaint response procedures are the best way to ensure fair lending compliance.
The webinar will be posted to the NCUA's website in the next two weeks.