NCUA Board Member Todd Harper shares his top priorities and focus at the agency. (CCUL Photo)

NCUA’s Harper talks CU issues w/ Carolinas League, CUs

January 16, 2020

NCUA Board Member Todd Harper participated in a Credit Union Roundtable hosted by Coastal Credit Union in collaboration with the Carolinas Credit Union League Thursday in Raleigh, N.C.

Coastal CU President/CEO Chuck Purvis and his team were joined by representatives of American Partners FCU, ElectTel Cooperative FCU, Lion’s Share FCU, Local Government FCU, Marine FCU, Members Credit Union, NC Community FCU, Truliant FCU and Weyco Community CU.

In his opening greetings, Harper emphasized, “It’s important to hear the stories of the credit union system. They help inform my decisions as a board member.”

Going around the room, participants not only shared information about their credit unions but also shared stories about how they address the unique needs of their members, sometimes in creative ways, like:

  • Marine FCU’s liaisons, retired Marines who provide on-base financial counseling, teaching young Marines how to budget once they’re discharged for things the Corps provided, like food, transportation and housing;
  • Members Credit Union’s partnership with local schools to provide financial education for students and teachers, including the new student-run branch in Davie County High School, which provides the students with paid internships when they work there.
  • American Partners FCU, which helped an immigrant woman – whose husband abandoned her and their three young children – stay in their home by refinancing her loan. The woman made only $18,000 a year as a school custodian and was paying an $1,100 monthly mortgage. When she sought help from her bank, she found none because she did not have good credit. American Partners found a way to change that loan to a 12-year note with a monthly payment of $400, keeping her family in their home.

Harper shared his priorities, including addressing the subordinated debt rule to get additional sources for risk-based capital and cybersecurity.

During the open dialogue, Harper fielded questions about some modernization issues, among them, ACET, the Automated Cybersecurity Examination Tool; NCUA Connect, the new user portal, and MERIT, the Modern Examination and Risk Identification Tool.

Harper said MERIT would be rolled out in stages following training of NCUA staff. He expressed the hope that it would become similar to a TurboTax process of filing reports.

Members Credit Union President/CEO Bob Donley expressed concern about Current Expected Credit Losses (CECL), stating, “NCUA is the primary user of our data. The loss allowance model we’ve used forever is not the problem.”

Coastal CFO Tami Langton added that the loans, services and aid to low-income members would be negatively impacted because of CECL, perhaps forcing consumers to payday lenders.

Donley agreed, “It’ll keep us from serving the members we were created to serve.”

League President and CEO Dan Schline thanked Harper for making the trip.

“Of what we at the League do, I see creating connectivity with our policy makers, elected officials and regulators as one of our most important focus,” said Schline. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to make this connection and have Board Member Harper here.”