CUs Can Expect Compliance Burden To Keep Growing In 2011

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SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — One set of numbers the recession hasn't depressed? Regulations. The resulting compliance demands are only expected to grow in 2011.

"An issue that is a concern to all of us is compliance with the onslaught of new regulations, and doing so in a manner that is as friendly to our members as possible," noted Jennifer Lehn, EVP for $1-billion Numerica CU, based here. Lehn, who also serves as chair of the CUNA OpSS Council [Operations, Sales and Service], told Credit Union Journal. "A lot of times we do transactions in a way that puts our members through fewer hoops than they would at a bank, but some of the regulations impact that."

Another concern Lehn has for CUs in 2011 is the fact operations, sales and service professionals "are in a position where they are trying to do more with less," both in terms of delivering more value to their credit unions and to their members. She said all of the CUNA Councils are attempting to disseminate information about some of the new rules. "One example was the overdraft requirements that went into place Aug. 15. We are working across councils to try to help educate our memberships."

With margin pressures continuing, Lehn noted all CUs in the year ahead will need metrics to evaluate their different departments and systems, and the optimization gained needs to continue.

"Some credit unions will see improvement in loan losses, which will help overall profitability and capital," she predicted. "For many of us the tough times will continue, so it is a good time to get good at what we do every day. Our trade association is working hard in Washington, D.C., about the benefits of alternative capital, and that may be necessary for some credit unions to ensure their survival."

Lehn said the OpSS Council deals very closely with the number of credit union CEOs retiring and the new talent coming into the industry. "We want to make sure the credit union philosophy remains a priority."

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