Dollar Asks Congress To Expand Agency Powers

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NCUA Chairman Dennis Dollar, continuing his victory lap, called on Congress last week to give NCUA expanded powers to set its own rules on credit union conversions to banks, maximum limits on member business loans, and net capital. The NCUA Chairman, serving as a holdover since April while awaiting a presidential-appointed successor, said in a speech to NAFCU's annual Congressional Caucus, NCUA is better equipped to determine these standards than Congress.

Dollar said some congressional leaders agree with him on these issues but doubt they would pass muster in the pending regulatory relief package, which would give NCUA expanded powers to set rules on permissible credit union investments, loan maturities and investments in CUSOs.

But another bill being drafted for credit unions could be the proper vehicle for the additional powers, said Dollar, who emphasized he was speaking for himself and not on behalf of the NCUA Board.

Dollar said he wants to overturn the rule, enacted by Congress as part of HR 1151, that allows credit unions to convert to mutual savings banks by a simple majority of voting members. Under old rules set by NCUA, conversions required a majority vote of all members. The new rules, noted Dollar, allows a credit union to convert with as few as a couple of hundred, even a handful, of voters who decided to participate in a ballot.

The member business loan cap, set at 12.25% of assets under HR 1151, also should be determined by NCUA, suggested Dollar. "We ought to be determining it, not Congress," he said.

Dollar also wants Congress to give NCUA authority to design and implement its own risk-based capital standard for credit unions.

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