NCUA could start completing on-site exams as early as July

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The National Credit Union Administration will take a phased approach to returning employees to normal operations.

NCUA said Thursday that it developed the transition plan for returning to on-site operations, which could be as early as July 6. Conducting voluntary on-site examinations at credit unions is part of the plan's first phase.

The agency initially halted on-site exams in mid-March over fears of exposing employees to the coronavirus.

“The NCUA will continue to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as we transition to normal on-site operations,” NCUA Chairman Rodney Hood wrote in a letter to credit unions. “As we gradually implement the phases of the transition plan, we will continue to notify credit unions of changes to procedures and examination protocols.”

The regulator completed extensive preparation in developing the plan, including using a workforce readiness survey, obtaining guidance from federal agencies and partnering with a public health firm that will advise NCUA on COVID-19.

NCUA will encourage employees to work remotely whenever possible and is limiting the number of staff who can work in the office.

"Our top priority is the health and safety our employees, so subsequent phases will follow as the pandemic’s conditions allow, and each phase will gradually enable increased on-site office and exam activity as well as more staff returning to the agency’s central and regional offices," an NCUA spokesperson said. "The plans do not set specific numbers."

In addition to distributing personal protective equipment to its employees, the regulator said it will implement social distancing and other measures in its office space.

NCUA’s decision to reopen comes as many credit unions have begun opening their own doors with certain precautions in place indefinitely. These efforts include Plexiglas installations separating employees from members, social distancing and mandatory use of masks.

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