NCUA Approves Budget Increase for 2015, Up to $280 Million

The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) on Thursday approved a $279.5 million budget for 2015, up $11.2 million from 2014. The NCUA board voted two to one to approve, with board member J. Mark McWatters casting the dissenting vote.

This budget marks the eighth consecutive year-over-year budget increase for the NCUA, though the agency’s CFO Mary Ann Woodson noted that this year’s increase is the smallest since 2008.

Cutting the budget was “not an option,” said NCUA Chair Debbie Matz at the meeting where the budget was approved. “The only way to cut the budget is to cut staff… and we made that mistake during the crisis.”

McWatters, the newest board member, said he was “dismayed” by the 2015 budget increases and called for a formal public budget hearing process. He said that next he wants the credit union community to see budget items at least two weeks before any budget hearing, and he invited credit unions and affiliated organizations to send comments on the budget directly to him.

“The NCUA’s consistent budget growth presents concerns across the industry,” said NWCUA President and CEO Troy Stang, “however it’s the lack of transparency in the budget process that calls for higher scrutiny. The agency depends on credit union assessments to fund the budget, yet they’re given no part in the process and that’s not right.”

CUNA President and CEO Jim Nussle issued a statement after the NCUA vote, voicing concern about the rising budget. “Rather than reducing expenditures,” he said, “the agency has continued to bolster its budget for eight straight years. CUNA will continue pressing the agency to be more efficient with credit unions’ funds.”

CUNA issued a letter to the NCUA the week before the budget vote, urging the agency to refrain from increasing the budget. “The NCUA is the steward of credit union funds,” said the letter, “and we think it should be looking at ways to reduce costs, particularly when it comes to employee and travel costs.”

Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790, jpearson@nwcua.org. 

Posted in CUNA, NCUA.