Dollar Takes Last Swing For Risk-Based Capital

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NCUA Chairman Dennis Dollar, in what is expected to be his final appearance before Congress as head of the federal regulator, made a brief pitch for his proposal to institute a risk-based capital system for credit unions. Dollar told members of the Senate Banking Committee during a quick question and answer period during hearings last week that he would support a system modeled after the Basel II agreements for risk-based capital.

Most of Dollar's time on the panel, which included Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and other financial regulators, was taken up with a report detailing the healthy condition of the nation's credit unions.

Dollar also referred to a letter he sent to Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., the chairman of the banking panel, recounting NCUA's priorities for a regulatory bill, which the panel is drafting. Dollar's recommendations to the Senate were identical to those he submitted to the House and included provisions: allowing credit unions to provide limited services to eligible non-members within their fields of membership; allowing NCUA, instead of Congress to set limits on loan maturities, investments in CUSOs, and permissible credit union investments; and easing the way on voluntary credit union mergers.

As he did with the House, Dollar neglected to take a position on whether privately insured credit unions should be allowed to join the Federal Home Loan Bank System, saying only that NCUA should not be put in a position to monitor privately insured institutions because they have no jurisdiction over them. That provision is included in the House version of the regulatory relief bill that was passed earlier this month.

Final prospects for the bill, however, appear dim because of the time constraints of Congress, which typically adjourns early during election years to begin campaigning.

Ed Roberts can be reached at eroberts

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