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RBC2 – NCUA Votes 2-1 to Pass the Risk-Based Capital Regs

Mon, Oct 19, 2015

Columbia, Maryland

After well more than two years of discussion, two rounds of proposed and amended regulations, 3 national ‘listening sessions,’ more than 4,000 stakeholder comments, thousands of hours of agency staff time and pushback from more than 350 Members of Congress...the NCUA voted to move forward and pass its RBC regulations (covering several hundred pages) on Thursday, Oct. 15.  The expected outcome of the Board vote was almost anti-climactic as Chairman Debbie Matz and Vice-Chair Rick Metsger voted to pass the rules with Board Member Mark McWatters voting nay.  

The meeting was a rather tidy, albeit lengthy affair with some member chilliness but no fireworks. The only real wrinkle heading into the vote was a rather pointed letter sent to Chairman Matz from the Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee (read letter here).  The letter sent two days prior to the vote, expressed Hensarling’s “troubling” concern that that the agency planned to move forward with a Board vote on RBC, particularly in light of the Committee’s recent bi-partisan (50-9) vote to support H.R. 2769 - Risk-Based Capital Study Act of 2015.  The bill would require the NCUA to ‘study and report’ to Congress on several important issues, including the impact the proposal will have on credit unions’ capital cushions.  

In addition, it referenced a similar letter which the co-sponsors of H.R. 2769 also sent Chairman Matz, requesting that the agency voluntarily comply with the intent and requirements of the bill.  The league, member credit unions and CUNA strongly support the bill.  Indeed, Rep. John Delaney (D-MD-06), a member of the committee, voted to approve.  While passing House Financial Services, this so-called ‘Stop and Study’ bill still faces a long path through the full House and Senate.  However, it does point to a continued high level of concern which members of both parties share on RBC. This level of attention in Congress is largely due to the work of leagues across the system including our Association’s advocacy team.

Chairman Hensarling also requested that the letter be read into the record. During the Board session, Chairman Matz referenced the letter and while terming the request ‘unprecedented,’ did comply and had the Board secretary read it aloud.  To accompany the Board action, the agency also distributed a final rule comparison to the revised proposal highlighting the changes (albeit relatively minor) in the final rule from version 2, which was first published in the federal register in February of this year.  

For more information: Glen Cooney, VP, Advocacy & Legislative Affairs, 443-325-0775, gcooney@mddccua.org.