ALEXANDRIA, Va. (11/21/14)--In casting his "no" vote against the 2015 National Credit Union Administration 2015 budget, board member J. Mark McWatters outlined 11 items he said would "enhance the transparency of the budgetary process."
This is the first year the NCUA will supply additional budget documents, which include several fact sheets, as well as a FAQ document scheduled to be released in the coming weeks.
However, McWatters said he would like to see opportunities for credit union stakeholders to have a seat at the table while the agency is putting the budget together, rather than simply reading documents about a budget that has already been approved.
"Next year, I strongly encourage the board to deliver the proposed budget and calculation of the proposed overhead transfer rate (OTR) to the credit union community and general public at least two weeks prior to a formal budget hearing," he said in remarks at the agency's Thursday open board meeting.
"At that hearing NCUA staff should formally present the proposed budget and OTR to the public in a detailed, understandable and transparent manner supported by written analysis posted on the NCUA website."
He added that the board should not formally act on the proposed budget until it has reflected on the comments.
"This approach, while somewhat cumbersome, will materially enhance the transparency and inclusiveness of the budgetary process," McWatters said. "Unless there's a legal or proprietary reason not to disclose something, the default should be to disclose it. I don't understand why it should be otherwise."
Despite McWatters dissenting vote, the agency approved a 2015 spending plan that is 4.2% higher than the 2014 budget.
For future budgets, McWatters said he would like to see:
"The board's job, in my view, is not merely to follow the script set by other financial regulators, but to lead and to set the standard of transparency and accountability for all such regulators," McWatters said.
See related story: NCUA budget up by 4.2% for 2015, McWatters votes against it.