Compliance: NCUA issues update on COVID-19 response

March 16, 2020

NCUA issued a letter to credit unions (20-CU-02) Monday outlining the agency’s actions related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“The NCUA recognizes there may be other accommodations that could assist members and communities in responding to challenges associated with COVID-19,” the letter reads. “We encourage credit unions to consult with their respective NCUA regional office or state regulator regarding additional actions that may help address the situation.”

The letter includes suggestions for ways credit unions can work with affected borrowers, including:

  • Waiving ATM, overdraft and loan balance or credit card late fees, early withdrawal penalties on time deposits and availability restrictions on insurance checks;
  • Easing restrictions on cashing out-of-state and non-member checks, credit terms for new loans for members who qualify;
  • Offering or expanding payday alternative loan programs, increasing credit card limits for creditworthy borrowers; and
  • Offering payment accommodations, such as allowing borrowers to defer or skip some payments, or extending the payment due dates, which would avoid delinquencies and negative credit bureau reporting caused by any COVID-19-related disruptions.

CUNA is currently seeking information on exactly how credit unions are meeting member needs as they arise. Credit unions can submit information here on how they are supporting members and employees.

The letter also notes that NCUA has prepared a frequently asked questions document to further assist federal credit unions (attached to the letter itself currently), and will soon launch a site containing the FAQs (which will be updated as necessary) as well as the most current information from NCUA regarding COVID-19.

NCUA says it is limiting examination and supervision work over the next couple of weeks to offsite procedures only, with a few exceptions for exigent circumstances. It will be evaluating this posture regularly and extending it as necessary.

“Examiners will work with credit union staff to facilitate the secure exchange of information needed to conduct offsite examination and supervision work, and will be mindful of the impact of information requests on any credit unions experiencing operational and staffing challenges associated with responding to COVID-19,” the letter reads. “As we evaluate credit unions over the coming months, consistent with long-standing practices, examiners will consider the extraordinary circumstances.”