Compliance Committee Discusses Hybrid Exams with Examiners

Earlier this week, the Compliance Committee met for a discussion with Joanne Black of the NCUA and Andrea McLaughlin of the Maine Bureau of Financial Institutions on the current state and future of examinations. In preparation for the meeting, the League surveyed Maine credit unions to receive their input on the benefits of having both virtual and hybrid exams.

The survey found that credit unions overwhelmingly acknowledged advantages to the virtual format, but some aspects of exams are conducted best in person, such as reviewing loan files and exit interviews. Members of the committee expressed their frustrations with duplicative requests for documents, increased length of exams, and a lack of understanding and rapport with examiners. Advantages include a more efficient and less invasive process for the credit union, as well as fewer expenses for travel for examiners.

To sort out questions and concerns, credit unions asked the examiners for more communication early in the exam process. They also requested that the examiners take additional time to have a better understanding of each credit union’s unique environment.

Improved communication was a hallmark of the discussion, both from the side of the examiners and the credit unions. Black and McLaughlin encouraged credit unions to reach out to them if there are ongoing concerns regarding exams. They also indicated that credit unions should contact their examiners by phone to discuss more complicated requests for information. The examiners asked for patience and input as the agencies develop policies for hybrid exams.

The League received feedback that this meeting was helpful and is considering holding similar meetings on a more regular basis.