LOS ANGELES — Could there be light at end of the ever-darkening compliance tunnel?

After opining about credit unions' growing compliance burden, California and Nevada CU League President/CEO Diana Dykstra said brighter days may finally be ahead, pointing to the newest member of the NCUA Board, Mark McWatters, with whom Dykstra and other league representatives recently met.

"Mark McWatters is interesting, and very smart," she said during the opening general session at the leagues' annual meeting. "He knows credit unions did not cause the problems in the financial system and they should not be regulated like a bank. He knows we need regulatory relief."

But it will take more than one man to push back the burgeoning tide of regulation facing credit unions following the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act.

"There have been 180 new regulations — the regulatory burden you feel is real," she said. "NCUA has gone a little overboard. The risk-based capital rule is an example of something where they did not have a clue."

After noting the federal regulator finally agreed to reissue the risk-based capital rule for a second comment period prior to finalizing it, Dykstra noted, "we got the second comment period, which is big."

Dykstra then took aim at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "The CFPB does not understand credit unions," Dykstra declared, while recounting a recent meeting in Washington, D.C. "Their next target is overdrafts. They asked us how to stop people from overdrafting. We tried to explain that people like having overdraft protection and they use it."

It is because of laws and regulations creating such a burden for CUs that advocacy represents 60% of the two leagues' total focus, Dykstra reported, noting there were 185 bills the leagues' state and federal teams were following this year, and all portions that could have had a negative impact on credit unions either were stripped out or the bills themselves did not come to a vote.

But now there's a new advocacy effort on the leagues' radar: consumer advocacy.

"Consumer advocacy is a new league initiative," she said. "Getting to 100 million members is a powerful accomplishment, but we want to reach more people and teach them about the credit union difference."

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