BISMARCK, N.D. (4/10/15)--National Credit Union Administration Chair Debbie Matz traveled to Bismarck, N.D., this week to meet with credit union leaders from across North Dakota.
NCUA Chair Debbie Matz learns about credit union issues during a roundtable discussion with U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D) and Robbie Thompson, president/CEO, Credit Union Association of the Dakotas. (CUAD Photo)
After visiting Railway CU, Mandan, and VUE Community CU, Bismarck, to greet staff and meet with members, Matz took part in a roundtable with U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D), who invited the NCUA chair to visit the state.
Heitkamp, who sits on the Senate Banking Committee, moderated the roundtable.
"This is a terrific and unique opportunity for our credit unions to have direct dialogue and discussion with a key member of the Senate Banking Committee and our chief credit union administrator," said Robbie Thompson, president/CEO, Credit Union Association of the Dakotas (The Memo April 9).
During the roundtable, Matz and her staff members listened to the concerns of the nearly 40 credit union leaders in attendance, especially regarding federal regulatory burden that in some segments has limited credit unions in the ways they can serve their members.
For example, Darrell Olson, president/CEO, Town and Country CU, Minot, explained that his credit union has stopped making manufactured home loans because of the Dodd-Frank Act, which has added requirements to carry escrow accounts on mobile homes.
Town and Country could have been a "much bigger player in that market, filling a much-needed void in that area," without the escrow rule, Olson told Matz (The Memo April 9).
Melanie Stillwell, president/CEO, Western Cooperative CU, Williston, further illustrated the problem by explaining that when credit unions don't have the ability to make such loans, "many customers are forced to get those type of loans through mobile home dealers, which are unregulated."
Matz said the NCUA plans to lift unnecessary limits on construction and development loans, and that she would take back other ideas suggested by credit union leaders during her visit to see what more the NCUA can do to support credit unions and their members.
"Meetings like this one are vital to gaining new insights about actions NCUA can take to lift compliance burdens, consistent with safety and soundness," Matz said.
Matz also outlined the five objectives the NCUA plans to accomplish over the next few months to strengthen and help credit unions better serve their members. These include adding supplemental capital, expanding fields of membership, removing the fixed-asset limit cap at 5%, permitting asset securitization and eliminating the underwriter requirements on home-mortgage originations.
"Our communities across North Dakota are strengthened by local institutions that know us and our businesses best," Heitkamp said. "Relationship banking is so important in rural states like North Dakota, where credit unions know their (members) by name and often know their families. It's critical that we assess the right rules and requirements for large banks without hindering smaller financial institutions."