Redefining ‘small’ a big help for many credit unions

One expert says NCUA’s new definition will give ‘small entities’ a better chance of survival.

by: Diane Franklin

The National Credit Union Administration Board’s unanimous approval of a proposal to raise the “small entity” asset ceiling from $50 million to $100 million is good news for the credit union industry, according to Barb Lowman, SVP/account processing solutions for financial services technology provider Fiserv Inc., a CUES Supplier member based in Brookfield, Wis.

Lowman observes that, based on NCUA figures, adoption of the proposal will raise the number of federally insured credit unions in the “small” classification to 77 percent from its current 65 percent.

“We’re still waiting to see clearly what those benefits will be,” Lowman says. “We anticipate that some of it’s going to come in the form of less stringent requirements from a compliance perspective, but it also may include financial relief, such as funding through grants and programs that will help small credit unions launch some of the technology solutions that are vital to their survival.”

Some in the industry were hoping that the “small” designation would go even further, up to a $250 million or even $500 million threshold. For now, however, Lowman indicates that the reclassification will enable a greater number of credit unions to stand on their own.

continue reading »