The Credit Union National Association has accused the National Credit Union Administration of "ignoring its primary function of safety and soundness."

The attack came in an Aug. 18 a letter from Gary B. Wolter, chairman of the trade group's subcommittee of examination and supervision, to NCUA Chairman Norman D'Amours.

As an example of efforts "that have no implications for safety and soundness" Mr. Wolter pointed to "your latest proposal to burden federal credit unions with substantial requirements to document service to members."

He called on Mr. D'Amours to shift focus "to ensure the agency has procedures necessary to evaluate the latest credit union operations."

Mr. Wolter cited a General Accounting Office report that singled out the NCUA as the only agency without exam procedures for institutions providing services via the Internet. NCUA examiners with computer expertise have been diverted to supervising year-2000 readiness, according to the Aug. 3 study by the accounting office. About 22% of the 11,100 credit unions conduct customers transactions on-line, a spokesman for the credit union group said. The on-line institutions serve about two-thirds of credit union customers, he added.

Mr. D'Amours, who was traveling, has yet to respond to the letter, a spokeswoman said. However, she said, "We appreciate CUNA's concern" over on-line supervision and "we will be giving it a greater amount of attention." -- Katharine Fraser

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