NASCUS Accreditation Takes Center Stage at International Conference

A special message from Mary Martha Fortney, President and CEO
June 2014

The NASCUS Accreditation Program, modeled on the university accreditation concept, was established in 1989 in order to administer and assure the quality standards of states’ credit union examination supervision. Since that time, 26 states have been accredited.

This was the topic of NASCUS Chair John Kolhoff’s (Mich.) presentation at the ICURN (International Credit Union Regulators’ Network) Annual Conference and Continuing Education, which was held May 14-16 at the Bank of England in London, United Kingdom. Co-hosted by ICURN—an independent international network of credit union regulators that promotes the guidance given by the leaders of the Group of 20 (G-20) nations for greater international coordination among financial services regulators—and the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority, the ICURN Annual Conference and Continuing Education is the only event of its kind, facilitating the sharing of information and positions of common interest among financial cooperatives, initiating research on financial cooperatives and their oversight, identifying best practices and providing direct access to an exclusive forum for thought leaders worldwide on issues critical to sound credit union regulation. NASCUS is a member of the ICURN Steering Committee and, for a number of years, has been involved in the network and conferences.

John’s presentation was well received by ICURN members, and for good reason: NASCUS-accredited agencies are known to maintain the highest standards and practices in credit union supervision.

The accreditation process includes disciplined self-evaluation, peer review and ongoing monitoring. Administered by the NASCUS Performance Standards Committee (PSC), this process measures a state regulatory agency’s ability and resources to effectively carry out its regulatory and supervisory programs.

More than 85% of state-chartered credit union assets are supervised by NASCUS’ 26 accredited state agencies. To earn the prestigious NASCUS accreditation, an agency must demonstrate that it meets accreditation standards in department administration and finance, personnel, training, examination, supervision and legislative powers.

The considerable benefits of accreditation for state agencies include creating a benchmark of standardized regulatory procedures and best practices as well as a methodology for measuring effectiveness.

NASCUS accreditation is valid for a five-year period subject to annual review. The annual review process enables the accredited agency and the NASCUS Performance Standards Committee (PSC) to measure progress and improvement. To earn accreditation, an agency’s qualifications are evaluated by an Accreditation Review Team (ART), who completes a thorough examination of the agency’s accreditation application and supporting documents, followed by three days of intense on-site scrutiny of agency programs and performance.

Aside from accreditation, John had several discussions with the Canadian provincial regulators regarding dual chartering and how it works.  Dual chartering is a new development in Canada, and there may be an opportunity for NASCUS to provide guidance on how the United States’ dual charter system works.

There were also discussions about the appropriate role of auditor reports/auditors related to examination processes (both internal and external), about the impact of the BASEL initiatives on worldwide capital standards and the general outlook for the industry.

NASCUS looks forward to continuing conversations with ICURN members, and to participating in next year’s conference.

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