Capital Reform

Recent Activity

Risk-Based Capital Rule

In August 2018, the NCUA proposed amendments to the 2015 risk-based capital (RBC) rule, including changes to the definition of a complex credit union and a delay of the effective date by one year, to January 1, 2020. The proposal amended the definition of a “complex” credit union for risk-based capital purposes by increasing the threshold level for coverage from $100 million to $500 million. At the NCUA Board’s October 2018 meeting, Chairman McWatters and Board Member Metsger voted to finalize the rule. NAFCU thanked the NCUA Board for revisiting the rule, but emphasized that statutory changes are required to provide credit unions with a modern capital regime, and that the risk-based capital rule should be significantly revised or withdrawn prior to its implementation date (full comments here).

On April 8, 2019, Rodney Hood and Todd Harper were sworn into the NCUA Board, and Hood was named Chairman. McWatters remains on as a Board Member.  At their June meeting, the NCUA Board approved a proposal to further delay implementation of the risk-based capital rule to January 1, 2022. Chairman Hood and Board Member McWatters voted for the proposal, while Board Member Harper voted against it. The proposal was finalized at the December 2019 Board meeting. NAFCU supports the delay, especially given concerns that the NCUA’s current definition of “complex” is overly simplistic and the NCUA’s commitment to further consider asset securitization, subordinated debt, and a community bank leverage ratio (CBLR) analog.

On the legislative side, bipartisan legislation to delay the effective date of the RBC rule to January 1, 2021 passed in the House of Representatives three times in 2018 as part of larger packages. For example, it passed as part of the FY 2019 Financial Services and General Government appropriations measure. It was also a part of the House amendments to S. 488, the JOBS and Investor Confidence Act of 2018, which passed the House 406-4. NAFCU lobbied Congress for a further delay, listing the request as a priority for 2019 (see NAFCU’s letter to the House and Senate). Additionally, as part of its coronavirus advocacy efforts, NAFCU asked Congress in a letter to House Financial Services Committee (HFSC) Chairwoman Maxine Waters and HFSC Subcommittee Chairs to permanently grandfather “excluded goodwill” and “excluded other intangible assets” in the RBC calculation for credit unions.

Subordinated Debt

In February 2017, the NCUA issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) on then-termed “alternative capital” (you can read NAFCU’s Regulatory Alert on the ANPR here). The ANPR included discussion of both supplemental capital and secondary capital, which the NCUA now regards as subordinated debt, and described how enhanced regulatory capital treatment of these instruments could be accommodated under existing NCUA rules. NAFCU supports a framework for authorizing subordinated debt and enhancing regulatory capital treatment so long as it does not conflict with the mutual, cooperative structure of credit unions. You can read NAFCU’s full comments here.

In January 2020, the NCUA proposed a rule that creates a new subpart within the final RBC rule to address the requirements for treatment of subordinated debt. The proposal allows low-income credit unions (LICUs), complex credit unions (as defined in the RBC rule), and newly-formed credit unions to issue subordinated debt for the purposes of regulatory capital treatment. It also introduces new requirements that are designed to enhance protections for investors and tightens eligibility standards for issuing credit unions. NAFCU issued a Regulatory Alert in March 2020 outlining the NCUA’s rule.

Capital Planning and Stress Testing

On April 25, 2018, the NCUA published a final rule amending Part 702 of its regulations to provide covered credit unions (i.e., those with $10 billion or more in total assets) with a more flexible framework for meeting capital planning and stress testing requirements as they grow. NAFCU has prepared a Final Regulation that analyzes the new rule.

While the final rule’s tiered regulatory approach provides some flexibility for credit unions just crossing the $10 billion asset threshold, it is fundamentally limiting – particularly for the largest credit unions. NAFCU believes that capital planning requirements should not only be tailored based on the complexity and financial condition of covered credit unions, but also contextualized in terms of overall industry risk.