In a major legal initiative of great potential benefit to USA credit unions, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), which regulates and/or insures the shares of most American credit unions, along with the other USA government banking regulators, have jointly proposed a rule that would codify that supervisory guidance from bank/CU examiners is not legally enforceable. (https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-11-05/pdf/2020-24484.pdf)

This is to draw a clear distinction between the suggestions (and edicts) of individual examiners and the rules that are actually set out in primary legislation and in duly adopted and published agency regulations. This action by all the US depository regulators recognises the reality that, even with the best of training programmes, individual examiners not infrequently suggest actions that are simply not required by law, to the detriment of credit unions and their members.

Upon issuing the proposed rule (which has been endorsed by all US CU trade bodies), NCUA and the other regulators said: “Unlike a law or regulation, supervisory guidance does not have the force and effect of law, and the agencies do not take enforcement actions based on supervisory guidance … Rather, supervisory guidance outlines the agencies’ supervisory expectations or priorities and articulates the agencies’ general views regarding appropriate practices for a given subject area.”

The rule was jointly published by NCUA along with the Federal Reserve System (which regulates very large US bank holding companies), the Comptroller of the Currency (US national banks, mutual savings banks and building societies), the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (all US financial services providers) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC, which insures deposits at both national and state law-chartered US banks).