Panels, Speakers Offer A Glimpse At What’s On the Regulatory Horizon

If you thought that the Northwest Credit Union Association’s annual Amplify Convention was a chance for credit unions to take a break from thinking about regulations, well, think again.

Three educational breakout sessions and a keynote address by NCUA Chair Debbie Matz drew standing-room-only crowds at the three-day gathering in Portland. And that comes as no surprise to John Trull, the NWCUA’s director of regulatory advocacy.

“Regulatory sessions are not sexy,” Trull says, “but people attend because they gain practical knowledge that helps in the day-to-day running of the credit union. To be successful, you have to know what’s coming down the road.”

When Brian Witt, a principal at the financial-services law firm Farleigh Wada Witt, gave his first legal update at a convention 30 years ago, “the hot topic was back-up withholding, and we spent an hour and a half on that topic alone. Of course, we spent another hour discussing several other legal and regulatory developments impacting credit unions.”

“But we have so many more regulatory issues today,” Witt says. “The Dodd-Frank Act has been the most significant development lately, and it impacts every aspect of a credit union. Almost everyone who comes to the convention today attends a regulatory session.”

On the eve of this year’s Amplify Convention, the Association’s Government Affairs Committee met with NCUA board member Rick Metsger, and its Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee hosted NCUA Supervisory Examiner Hilary Tormala. NCUA Board Chair Debbie Matz addressed the Association’s annual business meeting, telling attendees that the federal regulator will continue to take significant steps to ease the regulatory burden.

The convention itself included three sessions devoted to rules and regulations. In addition to Witt’s legal update with co-presenter Hal Scoggins, the breakouts included a session on regulatory advocacy with Mary Dunn, the senior vice president and deputy general counsel for CUNA. A panel discussion on exam issues featured Elizabeth Ellis from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Linda Jekel of the Washington Department of Financial Institutions’ Division of Credit Unions, Janet Powell of Oregon’s Department of Consumer and Business Services, and NCUA Region 5 director Elizabeth Whitehead.

All three sessions drew standing-room-only crowds, but the panel discussion was especially popular. As the panelists spoke, more than 80 additional chairs where wheeled into the room.

Among the rules and regulations discussed:

  • The NCUA’s final CUSO rule;
  • New capital standards (NCUA);
  • Employee benefits (NCUA);
  • Bylaws update (NCUA);
  • Student lending (CFPB);
  • Payday lending (CFPB);
  • Mortgage lending regulations (CFPB);
  • Marijuana regulations (DFI WA);
  • Board compensation (DFI WA);
  • Interest rate risk (DCBS OR); and
  • Administrative rules(DCBS OR).

Two pending rules drew a great deal of interest, Trull says.

Credit unions are awaiting a final CUSO rule from the NCUA that should be scaled back from the agency’s first proposal. The original rule would have put confidential information at risk and overly limited credit union investments in CUSOs, Trull says.

Also causing concern—even before it has been proposed—are expected revisions to the NCUA’s capital requirements under regulations Subpart A—Net Worth Classification. Trull says that nearly 10 percent of credit unions in the Northwest may need to raise capital because of the new rule.

“Credit unions certainly are not going to be happy about all of the new regulations,” Trull says, “but their advocacy efforts are paying dividends that I think will be demonstrated in the final rules.”


Questions? Contact Gary Stein: 503.350.2216,

Posted in MAXX Annual Convention, NCUA.