Sept. 25, 2015
GAO offers insights on ‘notice and comment’ for federal fees
A report on “federal user fees” issued by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and which looks at NCUA operating fees for federal credit unions as an example, offers some insights as to how the congressional watchdog agency views the importance of public “notice and comment” in the rulemaking process. In June, NASCUS released a legal analysis of the overhead transfer rate (OTR), which concluded that the NCUA Board’s adoption of the OTR constitutes a rule subject to the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) notice and comment requirements. Late last month, Chairman Debbie Matz announced that the NCUA Board would vote in January 2016 whether or not to publish a notice in the Federal Register and seek public comment on the OTR. While the GAO report (#15-718, Federal User Fees, issued Sept. 16) does not directly address the OTR, it does offer a number of findings that federal agencies should consider – or actions they should take – when considering fees. Among the findings: It is important that fee review processes provide opportunities for input from stakeholders, including fee payers and the general public, the report’s one-page “highlights” states. In the 51-page report itself, GAO notes that “the federal rulemaking process provides standards for public notice, opportunities for comment, agencies’ obligation to respond to significant comments, and the need to maintain a public rulemaking record,” adding, “the public notices and rulemaking record aid public participation in the rulemaking process and provide access to the supporting facts and analyses for the agency’s rulemaking decisions.” There is much more; see the links below for a NASCUS summary of the report, the highlights, and the full 51-page GAO report.
Easing reg burden on FISCUs focus of comment letter
In our letter to NCUA commenting on regulatory paperwork reduction, we made a number of suggestions for changes – in particular, to ease the regulatory burden on FISCUs by incorporating in one place all rules covering share insurance. We made the point that the current structure of NCUA regulations is unnecessarily cumbersome and confusing for FISCUs and examiners alike. But, we noted, NCUA could erase confusion -- and ease regulatory burden for credit unions -- by “systematically reorganizing its Rules and Regulations” to give federal and state examiners, and FISCUs, a consolidated chapter of applicable insurance regulations. We also addressed (among other things) prudent diversification of corporate credit union rules, clarification of fidelity bond rules and monthly meetings of credit union boards – which doesn’t fit for those states without a monthly meeting mandate. Generally, our tone (consistent with past comments) is urging the agency to recognize the role and distinction of FISCUs in its regulation structure to make it clear what applies to FISCUs, and what does not.
Summary outlines MLA rule compliance requirements
Credit unions and their supervisors will have one year to assure compliance with final regulations implementing the Military Lending Act (MLA), according to a NASCUS summary of the regulations posted on our website this week. The final rule is effective next week (Oct. 1, 2015), and compliance is required by Oct. 3 of next year. The provisions related to credit cards are effective in two years (Oct. 3, 2017). The MLA limits the amount of interest that a creditor may charge on ‘‘consumer credit’’ to a maximum annual percentage rate of 36%. With the amended final rule, the Department of Defense has extended the MLA protections to a broader range of closed-end and open-end credit products, modified the provisions relating to the optional mechanism a creditor could use to identify a ‘‘covered borrower,’’ revised the required disclosures, and implemented enforcement provisions. For more, see our summary of the final rule (posted this week on our website).
Three sessions, two states – one busy week for our education program
It has been a busy week for our education department, with two separate meetings in Ohio and one clear across the country in Colorado – on the same day! Nearly 200 credit union supervisors, staff members and volunteers participated in our industry day in Ohio (known locally as “Ohio Credit Union Day”) in Columbus, our Directors’ College in Denver, and our examiner training session, also in Columbus (following OHCUDay). Thanks to the Ohio Credit Union League and the Mountain West Credit Union Association for working with us to plan and promote these sessions. And education continues: Our Regulatory Roundtable is next week, Monday-Wednesday (Sept. 28-30), in the San Francisco area (Redwood City). This program which explores issues essential to examining state credit unions effectively. And, of course, “remember for November” that our BSA Conference – co-hosted with CUNA – is Nov. 15-18 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
BRIEFLY: Position opening in regulatory affairs; breakouts at Summit
A position is opening at NASCUS, and we are looking to add to staff a regulatory affairs professional, who will be responsible for analyzing and summarizing relevant state and federal regulations, proposals, guidance, and statutes. Responsibilities also include working with membership to improve the state and federal examination process, and educating policy makers on issues of importance to the state credit union system. For more information, see our “Career Opportunities” page on the NASCUS website (link below) … It’s less than five weeks until the 2015 NASCUS State System Summit – have you looked at our breakout topic descriptions and speakers? It’s a terrific lineup; see the link below for more.
Patrick Keefe, NASCUS Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 528-5974