LOS ANGELES – One of two WesCorp executives still fighting NCUA civil charges over the 2009 collapse of the corporate credit union giant has called for testimony from senior NCUA executives, including two on-site examiners at the one-time $34 billion corporate, as to their roles in landmark failure.
The bid by Todd Lane, who was WesCorp’s chief financial officer, may be the final chance for a public accounting of NCUA role in the massive failure, projected to cost credit unions $7 billion to resolve. Some of the same individuals were scheduled to testify a year ago in a suit over the failure of U.S. Central FCU, but that suit was settled just days before a scheduled trial in the case and the NCUA role in the meltdown of the corporates remains veiled.
Lane, currently CFO at California Coast CU, and WesCorp’s former CEO, Robert Siravo, are the only ones of five senior WesCorp executives to continue to fight the NCUA suit and Lane has called on the other three; Chief Investment Officer Robert Burrell, Chief Risk Officer Timothy Sidley and Human Resources Director Thomas Swedberg, to divulge what they plan to testify before the court as part of settlements they negotiated with NCUA. NCUA has refused to disclose the details of those settlements. Lane also hopes to establish that NCUA and its most senior executives knew of and approved WesCorp’s investments, even before they were made.
Lane’s defense threatens to go all the way to the top of NCUA, where one sitting Board member, Chairman Debbie Matz, was a member of the panel at the time of the WesCorp meltdown and the three-member Board routinely approved exemptions of the agency’s rules based on the recommendation of senior staff, in order for WesCorp to make risky investments.
Lane’s Los Angeles attorney Kenneth Fitzgerald has declined requests for comment, but in recent interviews has insisted that WesCorp’s investments were approved at the highest levels of NCUA and that there is ample documentary evidence to prove it.
NCUA says it does not comment on pending litigation.
Lane has called for written interrogatories from top NCUA officials who oversaw the corporate program at NCUA, including Kent Buckham, who was director of the Office of Corporate CUs at the time and now heads the agency’s Office of Consumer Affairs; Executive Director David Marquis, who was head of the Office of Examinations and Insurance at the time; Scott Hunt, who is currently director of the Office of Corporate CUs and was then a senior corporate examiner; Owen Cole, who was director of the Division of Capital Markets; Steve Sherrod, who was also director of the Division of Capital Markets; and Dan Buckley, former field supervisor for examiners who is now serving as interim CEO at Alabama’s Corporate America CU.
Lane has also called for interrogatories to be served on NCUA’s two on-site examiners at WesCorp, who had offices inside the corporate’s San Dimas, California, credit union and sat in on meetings of WesCorp’s asset/liability management committee, Lance McCallister and Joe Shoshoo.
The interrogatories seek all written records of examinations, correspondence, NCUA Board meetings, emails and any other documents that may relate to the oversight of WesCorp during the time prior to the 2009 collapse.
To date, NCUA has not disciplined anybody at the agency for their role overseeing the corporates and the five failures, projected to cost credit unions as much as $20 billion.