The recent announcement by NCUA's Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives that they will be publishing a list of vendor names makes one wonder what next to expect.
Will NCUA offer space for sale on its web site? Will board members be allowed to do commercials for credit card issuers and providers of professional services? Will the chairman be asking "What's in your wallet"?
NAFCU and CUNA both publish lists, as do most of the state trade associations. The federal government General Services Administration already publishes a vendor list. And now NCUA comes along with its own list saying the agency does not recommend anyone on it but are making the names readily available to try.
Regulators already have the reputation of telling credit unions how best to run their financial institutions. Now they want to tell you what vendors they believe you should use. Next, you will need to forward to them a copy of your logo for approval along with a schedule of the hours you are open so it can be determined if you truly are serving your members.
The list is endless of the advice your regulator can give you. Should you join CUNA or NAFCU? It may depend on which one is designated the official NCUA trade association.
Want to provide your members with some giveaways like pens, mugs, rulers or other items? Better make sure it carries the official NCUA logo. Credit unions giving away unendorsed products may face fines, suspensions, revocation or if home based immediate foreclosure.
This may sound overreaching, but not if you really think about it. The government already limits a credit union to accepting only certain individuals as members; the regulator wants to require home-based credit unions to move into commercial space; NCUA also believes it has the authority to set capital standards when the law does not clearly say that, and when asked by Congress about the job the agency is doing NCUA likes to respond "never mind."
Up next, the NCUA releases its list of endorsed candidates for the 2016 elections.
Michael E. Fryzel is an attorney and consultant to the financial services industry with offices in Chicago, Illinois. He is a former chairman and board member of the NCUA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.