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NCUA sets meetings to hear CU concerns
WASHINGTON (3/21/12)--The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) will host a series of "listening sessions" to gather credit union comment between May and July, NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz announced at the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) 2012 Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) on Monday.

Click for slide showNCUA Chairman Debbie Matz. Click for slideshow of day one at the 2012 GAC.
The sessions, which will begin on May 2 in Boston, Mass., will center on how NCUA examination processes can be improved and how the agency can reduce or streamline existing regulations. (Bill Myers, director of the NCUA's Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives, addressing a crowd of small credit union representatives Sunday at the GAC, said the NCUA is considering streamlining the examination process for small credit unions. See News Now March 19)

Matz encouraged GAC attendees, "What you have to say is important, and sometimes it helps to discuss issues face-to-face."

The agency has also scheduled a May 9 session in Alexandria, Va.; a June 5 session in St. Louis, Mo.; a June 12 session in Orlando, Fla.; a July 10 session in San Diego, Calif.; and a July 31 session in Denver, Colo. All meetings are planned to begin at 1 p.m. and end at 4 p.m.

Matz in her remarks also asked what credit unions would look like in 2034, the 100th anniversary of the Federal Credit Union Act, and outlined future success for credit unions.

For the credit union system to continue to grow, the NCUA must do its part to ensure the credit union system prospers by adhering to its mission of safety and soundness while imposing the lightest possible regulatory burden, Matz said.

As the credit union system continues to stabilize from the pressures of the country's economic meltdown, credit unions must look beyond the short term and take the long-term view to capitalize on the strengths of the system, she added.

Credit unions must take actions necessary to keep them strong, including exercising due diligence, ensuring their board members are properly trained, and focusing on strategic planning, Matz said.

Noting that the average age of a credit union member is now 47, Matz urged credit unions to work harder to woo younger membership, for the good of their own institutions and the credit union system as a whole.

Young people expect services like mobile banking and online bill-paying, immediate service around the clock, and to open accounts and get approved for loans online. "If you don't offer what they expect, they're going to take their business elsewhere. That's why it's absolutely essential that you use all the tools at your disposal to win over the next generation," she said.

It is also vital for credit unions and the NCUA to work together to support beneficial legislation, Matz said, noting the promise that increasing the member business lending cap and allowing greater access to supplemental capital hold for credit unions.

"If we, together, find common understanding on our distinct roles, as well as our shared goals, I believe that in 2034, credit unions celebrating their centennial will look back at all the progress we have made together, and see it for what it is: a new beginning," Matz said.
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