Merkley to Matz: Listen Carefully to Credit Unions’ Concerns

In a letter to Chair Debbie Matz last week, Sen. Merkley urged the NCUA to “listen carefully” to the concerns Oregon credit union leaders have shared with him.

While agreeing that it’s important for the regulator to take steps necessary to ensure the stability of the credit union system, the Senator noted that credit unions are already subject to strong leverage standards, which he called “a source of strength for their balance sheets.”

“It allows them,” he noted, “to manage their risks in a simple way and serve their members and communities through even the toughest downturns. In short, those leverage rules should be maintained.”

Merkley’s letter noted that credit unions “fared much better than other financial institutions” during the economic crisis. He also offered a historical perspective to risk-based capital requirements for banks, stating, “Those rules added complexity without actually building sufficient capital that was loss-absorbing in a crisis.”

While hundreds of legislators have signed on in opposition to the rule as it is currently proposed, the Merkley weigh in is significant because he is a member of the influential Senate Banking Committee.

More than 2,000 letters were filed by credit unions during the NCUA’s comment period; Northwest response can be found online.

Matz, board member Rick Metsger and NCUA staff have noted recently that the proposal will be significantly changed before it is finalized. Feedback to credit unions from the regulator is that credit unions may ultimately be asked to provide more detailed Call Reports as a result.

A final rule is expected by no later than early 2015.

Questions about this story? Contact Lynn Heider: 503.350.2225, lheider@nwcua.org.

Posted in NCUA.