(Aug. 13, 2021) NCUA this month will begin transitioning to the new MERIT exam tool and other applications meant to modernize and streamline the agency’s operations, according to a letter to federally insured credit unions issued Thursday.
NCUA’s Letter to Credit Unions (LTCU) 21-CU-08 states that the new applications may be accessed through NCUA Connect, another of its applications debuting this month, which the agency described as a central user interface which credit unions use to securely interact with the agency.
In addition to MERIT (the Modern Examination and Risk Identification Tool) the applications include:
- Data Exchange Application (DEXA): an “ingest tool” that provides authorized NCUA, state supervisory authority (SSA), and credit union users the ability to securely upload the credit union member loan and share data requested during the examination and supervision process.
- Admin Portal: designed to provide authorized credit union administrative users with the ability to manage user access to NCUA Connect and other applications for their credit unions.
- Consumer Access Process and Reporting Information System (CAPRIS, which replaces the Field of Membership Internet Application (FOMIA): for use by multiple common bond FCUs to submit field of membership expansion requests electronically.
Credit unions that want to use the applications, the letter notes, must identify two individuals as admin portal administrators with delegated responsibility for managing the users for their credit union. “Once approved and confirmed by the NCUA, administrators can add users and grant application access,” the agency stated. “As part of the process, the administrator will be granted access to NCUA Connect to access the Admin Portal application.”
The agency also noted that MERIT – which is designed to provide examiners with visualizations to identify trends and potential risks in credit unions through enhanced, integrated analytics – allows SSAs and NCUA to work jointly on examinations, “reducing redundancy, increasing efficiency, and improving communication.”
(NASCUS developed a team of state regulators to offer feedback to the agency as the system was developed; NASCUS will continue to consult with the agency as the system is deployed).
According to NCUA, MERIT gives examiners the ability to document examination results, generate the report issued to the credit union, and formally follow up on examination concerns. The agency said the new system allows credit unions to securely transfer documents to their NCUA and SSA exam teams (as applicable) through the system’s “survey” functionality. “Examiners can send a document request list (survey) through MERIT rather than through other manual or electronic means, thus improving the efficiency of the document request process,” NCUA said.
Before credit unions request to obtain access to information from MERIT (or DEXA), NCUA said credit unions should wait until they are notified of their first exam in MERIT. Doing so before that, NCUA suggested, would be fruitless since there is no information specific to credit unions in the system until the first MERIT exam. “Further, as part of enhanced security, user accounts are locked after a period of inactivity, and user access would need to be restored once notified of an upcoming examination,” the agency said.
The LTCU also lists user training opportunities for the new systems, complete with Internet links.