Seen and Heard at the 2010 State System Summit

A special message from Mary Martha Fortney, President and CEO,
October 14, 2010

NASCUS recently returned from its 2010 State System Summit in San Antonio, Texas. For those of you that attended, thank you for making it a dynamic and engaging meeting. As I look back on our meetings, here are a few highlights, and ideas to note as we continue to navigate this very interesting time for state regulators and credit unions.

· NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz was one of our keynote speakers at the opening general session on Sept. 30, just a few days after the agency unveiled its legacy assets plan, the final corporate credit union rule and the announcement of the conservatorship of three more federal corporate credit unions. "The most important message I want to convey is that there is no cost to consumers," said Matz. "This is not a bailout, but a comprehensive resolution." 

· Jeff Post, CUNA Mutual President and CEO, coined a new phrase at the Summit: "Flat is the new up," as he walked attendees through an economic update and emerging risks assessment. From the emerging risks standpoint, he stressed that home values will continue to decline leading to a home value impact on retirement. He also said government layoffs are the next shoe to drop in terms of employment trends. "We've got promises we just can't pay," he remarked when referring to the economic impact on the government.

· New CUNA President and CEO Bill Cheney stated that CUNA's number one legislative priority for 2011 is capital reform, including supplemental capital. As you know, NASCUS is a long time supporter of supplemental capital and we look forward to continuing to work with Cheney and the CUNA leadership to make this necessary reform a reality. "I'm confident we are all on the same page on supplemental capital and can move forward and get this done for credit unions," said Cheney.

· Washington Credit Union League President John Annaloro presented the group with a provocative discussion about the state of the share insurance fund. He tagged the absence of risk-based standards and the lack of an unbiased advisory board mechanism as two main weaknesses of the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund.

· Dick Ensweiler, Texas Credit Union League President and CEO, remarked to the Credit Union Advisory Council audience that the biggest threat for credit unions is the difficulty in getting legislation passed on the federal level. "No matter who's in Congress, the bankers have just enough leverage to get things done," said Ensweiler. "Credit unions have to find a way to break through - it’s a real challenge."

· Bruce Jolly, NASCUS Outside Counsel of Reed Jolly, PLLC, was asked if he thinks consumers have changed due to this economic crisis. He replied that he thinks consumers will continue to be savers. "Consumers will fundamentally change," said Jolly. "This will require credit unions to more innovative. The key will be to understand the new needs of members."

These are just a few of the interesting and thought-provoking comments made by some of our speakers. Further, the discussion of Wisconsin's Royal CU acquisition of bank branches provided for one of the most engaging open dialogues of the conference, led by Royal CU's President and CEO Charlie Grossklaus and Wisconsin state regulator Sue Cowan.

Again, NASCUS thanks its speakers, attendees and sponsors for helping make the 2010 State System Summit such a strong educational and networking event. We look forward to continuing to meet and exceed our members’ expectations at next year's State System Summit, Sept. 14-16 in Chicago, Illinois.