The Office of Personnel Management has agreed to let the National Credit Union Administration do some of its own hiring.

Effective Aug. 1, NCUA regained the power to hire current or former government employees. However, the agency still must get OPM approval to hire anyone from the private sector.

The OPM stripped the NCUA of its hiring authority on Aug. 8, 1997, after discovering the credit union regulator violated the government's hiring rules.

NCUA manipulated government rules for competitive hiring so that pre- selected candidates got jobs as examiners, OPM said.

The government's personnel agency also found that NCUA hired at least 40 white examiners under a program intended to promote minority hiring.

Meanwhile, at NCUA's July 30 board meeting, chief financial officer Dennis Winans said the agency was under budget at midyear because employee pay and benefits costs were lowered than expected.

Those costs were low because the agency's exam force is not fully staffed. Nearly 80 openings for examiners exist.

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