NCUA Urged To Lift Veil Over Consumer Office

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. – NAFCU on Monday called on NCUA for more transparency about its fledgling consumer protection office, which the agency has kept under tight wraps.

NAFCU President Fred Becker, who was instrumental in the agency’s creation of the consumer office, told NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz he has been frustrated by a lack of information about the new office’s policies and processes. “We greatly regret that NCUA has failed to communicate with credit unions about the [Office of Consumer Protection], changes in policy and functions of the office and the process the office uses in addressing consumer complaints,” Becker wrote in a letter to Matz yesterday.

NCUA has been extremely secretive about the new office, created as Congress was preparing to form its own Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to conduct many of the same functions. NCUA has declined several requests by Credit Union Journal for interviews with the head of the office, Kent Buckham, who formerly was the agency’s chief corporate credit union examiner. NCUA has budgeted $1.5 million a year and plans to hire 30 staff for the new office.

“It is crucial that the NCUA is fully transparent about the process the OCP uses to handle consumer complaints so that credit unions may institute appropriate policies and procedures for handling consumer complaints that have been submitted to the agency,” wrote Becker. “At a minimum, the agency should issue a letter to credit unions detailing the functions of the OCP, its policies and the process the office follows to handle consumer complaints.”

 

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