October 10, 2014

NAFCU backs fixed-assets proposal, suggests improvements

NAFCU Director of Regulatory Affairs Mike Coleman thanked NCUA Friday for its proposed changes to its fixed assets regulation and recommended further tweaks that would help achieve the clarity and relief NCUA says it's aiming for.

Coleman welcomed NCUA's proposal to remove the 5 percent cap on federal credit union investments in fixed assets – one of the key items flagged for change in the association's "Dirty Dozen" list. The proposal would allow a federal credit union to exceed the 5 percent cap if it establishes a fixed asset management, or FAM, program including written policies, board oversight and ongoing internal controls. "We believe this proposed mechanism is a much more effective means of supervising FCUs' safe and sound management of fixed assets," Coleman wrote.

As to what types of minor acquisitions or equipment purchases should be exempted from supervisory scrutiny, Coleman suggested exempting desktop technologies such as computer monitors, printers, faxes, scanners, copiers and telephones; upgrades or renewals of existing desktop software and ATMs.

The proposal would also permit a federal credit union up to five years from the date it acquires new property for future expansion to meet the partial occupancy requirement. Noting that some NAFCU members are concerned the occupancy requirements overall hamper long-term planning by safe, sound federal credit unions, Coleman recommended eliminating all occupancy requirement from the rule.