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NCUA outlines OCP structure consumer complaint process
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (10/24/11)--The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) provided additional detail on the two divisions of its Office of Consumer Protection (OCP), and covered the agency's member complaint resolution process, in a letter to credit unions (11-CU-17) released late last week.

In its letter, NCUA stated that it "designed OCP to segregate consumer protection and consumer compliance responsibilities from those involving safety and soundness."

The NCUA said its Division of Consumer Access will cover:
  • New federal credit union charters;
  • Charter conversions;
  • Field-of-membership expansions;
  • Bylaw amendments; and
  • Low-income designations.
The Division of Consumer Compliance and Outreach (CCO) will:
  • Address consumer compliance policies, program and rulemaking;
  • Act as an interagency liaison on consumer protection and compliance issues;
  • Conduct fair lending examinations;
  • Manage its own consumer call center and financial literacy and outreach programs; and
  • Serve as the agency's ombudsman. 
The agency also outlined how the CCO would handle consumer complaints, saying that complaints and any related documents that are submitted by credit union members to the CCO would first be forwarded on to the chairman of the given credit union's supervisory committee. The CCO will request a response within 21 days, and will "review the response to ensure it adequately addresses the member's complaint and that the action(s) taken, if any, are consistent with consumer protection laws and regulations."

The CCO will request additional information if needed, and will update the credit union and the credit union member once the case has been fully examined or resolved, the NCUA said. Member complaints may be addressed by the credit union. However, the complaints may also result in legal or regulatory action, and the CCO will inform the credit union and the credit union member of any further actions that could be taken, the agency added.

The Credit Union National Association has urged the NCUA to provide more information about the operations of the OCP and will continue to push for assurances that the OCP will not interfere with credit unions' operations or seek to add to the regulatory burdens placed on credit unions nationwide.
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