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Feds clarify financial supervisory enforcement responsibilities

WASHINGTON (11/18/11)--The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and other regulators that comprise the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) have released guidance addressing "how the total assets of an insured bank, thrift or credit union will be measured for purposes of determining supervisory and enforcement responsibilities" under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act.

The FFIEC is comprised of the leaders of the NCUA, the Federal Reserve Board, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Office of Thrift Supervision, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz is in the first year of a two-year stint at the FFIEC helm.

The FFIEC release notes that the CFPB "has exclusive authority to examine for compliance with federal consumer financial laws and primary authority to enforce those laws for institutions with total assets of more than $10 billion, and their affiliates." The Fed, FDIC, NCUA, and OCC "will retain supervisory and enforcement authority for other institutions," the release adds.

Three credit unions would come under the purview of the CFPB under these terms.

Quarterly call reports will be used as "a common measure of the asset size of an insured depository institution," the release adds. The size of financial institutions will not be changed for regulatory purposes "unless four consecutive quarterly reports indicate that a change in supervisor is warranted," the FFIEC said.

Allowing institutions to frequently switch between financial regulators "could both impose increased burden on institutions and interfere with the orderly implementation of the agencies' responsibilities with respect to the federal consumer financial laws," according to the release.

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