Matz praises CUs’ resilience

Regulator explains how the agency averted a catastrophe to the insurance fund.

March 1, 2011

“We’ve always known the CU system was strong,” NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz told an Opening General Session audience yesterday. But she praised CUs for the resilience they’ve shown through the economic downturn.

Matz detailed how the agency worked during the past 18 months to prevent another crisis from becoming “a catastrophe.” It involved several consumer CUs, including some with more than $1 billion in assets and on the verge of failure. NCUA had to tailor remedies to each unique situation and act quickly, she said. It issued Letters of Understanding and Agreement requiring specific performance targets, found merger partners, worked with boards to select new CEOs, and conserved some credit unions.

These actions prevented $1.5 billion in losses to the insurance fund. And it’s why the agency returned to a 12-month examination cycle—rather than the 18-month cycle in place before the crisis—which resulted in the addition of more NCUA staff. “I understand your concern that when you’re cutting your budget, NCUA asked more from you.”