NAPERVILLE, Ill. (11/5/10)--The Illinois Governor's Board of Credit Union Advisors (GAB), the state's only statutory committee focused directly on the credit union movement, met Oct. 28 in Chicago to discuss foreclosure environment, loan modifications and state-chartered credit union trends, among other topics. The seven-member GAB is appointed by the governor to consult with, advise and make recommendations to the governor and the director of the Division of Financial Institutions (DFI) on credit union matters. It also advises upon appointments and employment of personnel related to supervision and regulation of credit unions. The GAB is an opportunity for the Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL), state regulators and credit unions to enter a dialogue about critical current issues, said the league. At the meeting, Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) summarized its activities, including its focus on the state's foreclosure environment. DFI Acting Assistant Supervisor Brad Losch and David Anderson, acting problem case officer, presented a statistical summary of state-chartered credit union operating ratios and trends, with insight and guidance provided by DFI Director Robert Meza and Lindsay Hanson-Anderson, the governors's legislative director. Stephen Olson, ICUL executive vice president, general counsel and chief operating officer, provided a federal and state legislative and regulatory update to the group. After the formal presentations, the group focused on loan modifications and how state regulators evaluate credit unions during the examination process on the standards used in extending loans and altering payment terms. Meza asked the league to host educational sessions so credit unions can share information and best practices on this topic. The league said it plans to offer these in the next couple of months. The group also discussed funding for the IDFPR. The Credit Union Section of the DFI is supported by credit union regulatory fees, not the state's general revenue fund. The discussion indicated that potential restructuring of the super agency will be addressed during the 2011 spring legislative session of the Illinois General Assembly. Consensus was expressed that the GAB should submit a letter to the governor identifying the preservation of the independent credit union regulatory function as an important goal. Board member Bohdan Watral, CEO, Selfreliance Ukrainian American FCU, Chicago, expressed concern about the financial impact of these issues in light of corporate stabilization. He emphasized that "credit unions need to maintain their viability." "This was a very important and informative dialogue session," said GAB Chairman Peggy Cummins, CEO of Three Rivers Community CU, Mount Carmel. "I would really like to encourage credit unions to take more interest in these meetings." ICUL said the meetings are particularly beneficial since Illinois is home to the largest number of state-chartered credit unions in the nation--297--and is a leader in advancing the interests of state-chartered institutions. The meetings also provide ICUL an opportunity to highlight its legislative and regulatory agency on behalf of those credit unions. It works closely with IDFPR, through DFI, the league said, to help provide a favorable operating environment for its affiliates. "The open dialogue and positive working relationship we have experienced with the GAB and the DFI have been extremely productive, especially during this current, very challenging economic and regulatory environment for credit unions," said ICUL's Olson. "The GAB meetings provide a great venue to not only share critical information but also to have a dynamic, open dialogue among credit unions, the agency and ICUL to better understand mutual concerns." In addition to Cummins and Watral, GAB members include:
* Alice Clements, director, Consumers Cooperative CU, Waukegan; * Brian McDaniel, director, Argonne CU, Romeoville; * Helen Young, board member, CEFCU, Peoria; * Karen Woods, marketing manager, Decatur Earthmover CU, Decatur; and * Ray Rogers, internal auditor, DHCU Community CU, Moline.