Friday, February 19, 2021

NCUA Change involving joint ownership share accounts.

ALEXANDRIA, Va.–The NCUA board has voted 3-0 to approve a change involving joint ownership share accounts.

The change to Final Rule Part 745 is relatively minor in that it codifies a practice already in place at many credit unions when it comes to the use of electronic signatures. The rule would only apply in cases where a credit union fails and a jointly owned account is affected. The rule was finalized largely as proposed, with the agency saying it will provide targeted regulatory relief by allowing federally-insured credit unions to use information in account records to establish co-ownership of the share account and satisfy the signature card requirement.

The final rule includes a clarifying change "to better convey the examples of evidence of co-ownership in the proposed regulatory text do not define the only form of evidence that could satisfy the signature requirement," according to NCUA. It is set to take effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

NCUA Chairman Todd Harper, agency staff and the other board members all noted the change will not add any additional compliance burden on credit union. The approval of the rule brings NCUA in line with a similar change adopted earlier by the FDIC.

The proposal was originally put out for comment in May of 2020. NCUA said it received 11 comment letters on the proposal, none of which objected.

"I’d like to see more of this great work by NCUA staff, in codifying these sorts of things and putting them into the affirmative," said NCUA Vice Chairman Kyle Hauptman. "If you’ve talked to a compliance officer at a small institution, you know the position they are in. It can be a thankless job, a bit like playing the position of goalie in hockey or soccer, when the only time THEY are the focus is when things aren’t going well for their ‘team.’ They want to see it stated that something is ok. It’s not enough to NOT see a rule against something, they need it stated that something is in fact acceptable.

"On a related note, I understand that, coincidentally, the Part 745 share insurance rules are part of NCUA’s annual Regulatory Review Process where the agency examines one-third of our existing regulations for consistency, accuracy, and clarity," continued Hauptman. "This is a huge undertaking, and I want to thank the staff for the excellent work done throughout the year. Too often, changes do not get made until problems arise. I appreciate the proactive approach staff have taken to maintain the integrity of NCUA regulations."

NCUA Board Member Rodney Hood said the move will help “ensure confidence in the payout of funds” in the rare case of a credit union failure.

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