The National Credit Union Administration is asking credit unions to help reshape the “backbone” of the agency’s examination and supervision data-collection system.

The NCUA board announced at today’s board meeting it will seek public comments on a proposed overhaul of the quarterly call reports it requires credit unions to submit. Revisions to the call report system were first discussed at a meeting of the agency’s governing board in May 2016. The board formed a working group to spearhead the call report modernization project that September.

At the board’s regular January meeting Thursday, NCUA staff briefed board members on planned revisions. The new report would eliminate more than 1,100 of the current call report’s 1,523 account codes while adding 413 new ones for a 40 percent reduction in the total number of codes.

The agency has published a detailed report cataloging the proposed additions and revisions on its website.

By way of comparison, Director of the Office of Examination and Insurance Larry Fazio said NCUA’s proposed call report is about one-third as large as a prototype call report that banking regulators are considering for use by large banks and approximately half as large as one under consideration for use by small banks.

Getting to this point included extensive outreach to industry stakeholders over the past 18 months, Fazio explained. “The loud-and-clear consensus message we got with the stakeholder engagement to this point was this needs to be streamlined,” he said. “I think the broad belief is that over the long term this will have significant net benefits for the community.”

While the biggest source of reduction came from eliminating several pages of codes related to derivative financial instruments, which were applicable to “only a relatively small subset of credit unions,” the revised call report also significantly streamlines lending-related data, said Risk Management Officer Mary Thor. “Currently there is a fair degree of unnecessary overlap and variation in the way this information is collected,” Thor added.

And some credit unions will see an even more streamlined version, she explained, because it will feature an adaptive user interface. “This means a credit union would only see the fields relevant to it,” Thor said.

In his remarks, NCUA Chairman J. Mark McWatters stressed the efforts the agency has made and continues to make to engage credit unions and other stakeholders as the modernization project has progressed. Once a notice is published in the Federal Register, the public will have 60 days to submit comments on the proposal.

More than 50 people responded to an earlier call for public comments made in June 2016.

“We have listened to the community,” McWatters said. “We have taken their concerns into consideration in this proposal. I’m sure there are a lot of things we said we could do and I’m sure there are some things where we said, `No, we can’t do that.’ That’s fair; that’s compromise; that’s negotiating in good faith.”

NCUA plans to publish an implementation timetable after analyzing the responses it receives to its Request for Information, Fazio said. The revised call report should serve the agency “for the next five to seven years,” he added.

“I think we need to make a commitment to taking a comprehensive look at the call report periodically,” Fazio said. “You don’t want to do it too often because you create instability in the industry [but] you don’t want it to get so stale that we have to go through a massive rewrite.”

Indeed, the last time the agency did a comprehensive update was in 2006, with other changes made on an as-needed basis over the years, according to John Fairbanks, public relations specialist at NCUA.

In other actions, the board approved a new regulation adjusting for inflation the civil money penalties it charges. The change came in response to a congressional mandate.

The board also approved a strategic plan to guide the agency’s operations through 2022.