NCUA Exam Focus for 2013 Emphasizes Risk Management

Credit unions can expect a continued emphasis on risk management during 2013 examinations, according to the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), which is also expected to take steps to improve clarity and consistency throughout the process.

The January edition of The NCUA Report starts with an article entitled, “Capacity, Clarity, and Consistency Guide NCUA Exams in 2013.” The article provides insight into areas of focus for examiners. In addition, the NCUA plans on releasing a Letter to Credit Unions which will provide more details on exam focus.

Examinations in 2013 will look at the capacity of credit unions in various areas, including:

  • Adoption of New Technology – Examiners will review how well credit unions put risk-management controls in place when expanding the use of technology, such as online banking, remote deposit capture and social media.
  • Balance Sheet Management – Examiners will explore whether credit unions are appropriately managing earnings and capital without adding undue levels of interest rate, liquidity and credit risk.
  • Operational Risk – Examiners will look into how capable credit unions are to control operational risk and maintain a sound system of internal controls.
  • Other Assets – Examiners will review whether credit unions are actively managing the unique risks associated with unconventional products, such as investments in credit union-funded benefit plans or private student loan programs.

“Readers will note that the word ‘risk” is used in each exam focus provided by the NCUA,” said David Curtis, Director of Compliance Services for the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA).

In addition to releasing the exam focus areas, the NCUA has plans to provide more information and better guidance to credit unions to clearly set exam expectations.

  • Expanded Use of Guidance – The NCUA will continue to use supervisory letters to clarify regulatory requirements and provide clear supervision expectations. For 2013, credit unions can expect guidance on member business loan (MBL) waivers and personal guarantees, loan workouts and troubled debt restructured (TDR) loans, and the use of credit ratings.
  • Examination Program Enhancements – The NCUA is developing better training and guidance in several areas, such as the development and use of Documents of Resolution. The pre-exam letter is also being modified to communicate additional information about the examination process. Additionally, the exam report cover letter is being enhanced to better describe all examination appeal options—both formal and informal—available to credit unions.
  • National Supervision Policy Manual – The product of a two-year project, the manual’s first full year in operation will be 2013. The NCUA created this companion document to the existing Examiner’s Guide to establish uniform operations and procedures for supervision throughout the country and improve the agency’s ability to operate efficiently across regions.


Questions? Contact the Compliance Hotline: 1.800.546.4465,

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