by. Henry Meier
I’m exaggerating only slightly this morning. In written testimony before the House Financial Services Committee yesterday NCUA General Counsel Michael McKenna stated that 70% of NCUA’s final rules over the last two years have provided regulatory relief or greater clarity without imposing new compliance costs. That’s a relief, here I thought credit unions were being overburdened by excessive regulation. I guess all those credit unions that have hired additional compliance staff over the last few years can rest easy.
As both NAFCU and CUNA were quick to point out, when it comes to assessing the impact of regulations, it’s not so much the quantity but the quality of the regulations that has to be assessed. In truth, the whole premise of yesterday’s hearing was a little silly. Regulators are responsible for regulating and they wouldn’t be doing their job if the industries they oversee reported to Congress that they loved the job they are doing. Instead of holding hearings, Congress should remind itself that regulations are, by definition, the outgrowth of laws it passes. Since that is unlikely to happen, however, NCUA can’t simply point to statistics to get around the fact that credit unions face burdens today that they didn’t have to deal with five years ago. For example, in recent years, NCUA has:
- blurred the distinction between federal and state oversight of credit unions by passing regulations giving it more direct control over state chartered credit unions;
- clamped down on CUSOs by making them report more information directly to the NCUA;