Using the NCUA Examiner's Guide as a Resource to Help Your Credit Union
Halloween just came and went. This year, several dozen pop-culture references, cartoon characters, and rotting undead paid visit to my door. They said, “trick or treat,” and in return, I gave them candy. Examiners aren’t quite as charming when they knock on my credit union door, though. Nevertheless, I like to stay well-prepared: instead of buying bags of candy, I consult the NCUA examiner’s guide.

I like literature as much as the next person. I have a few dog-eared classics and the odd bestseller by my nightstand. Owing to my career, I also frequently return to the NCUA examiner’s guide—it’s not the most exciting read out there, but it certainly is a reliable source of wisdom and insight.

If you’re preparing for your next NCUA audit or examination, I recommend following a similar path. If you want to make sure that you’re prepared for your next audit, the NCUA examiner’s guide is your best resource.


Understanding NCUA Regulations with the NCUA Examiner’s Guide

One of the hardest parts of preparing for an audit or exam is knowing how to study. What some people forget is that the NCUA actually lets you know what they’ll be looking for before they show up.

The NCUA gives credit unions a head start two ways (we’ll cover the second shortly). First, they keep the NCUA examiner’s guide on their website. The guide can be a reference of audit and exam proceedings, and it may help you understand what your examiner will be looking for, and why.

You can access the information from the NCUA examiner’s guide in two places: you can review the older material here. This first link is for older chapters of the NCUA regulations that haven’t been updated as of 2018. The newer, revised material is stored in the online NCUA examiner’s guide here. The material in the updated guide has been updated as of August 2018.


NCUA Supervisory Priorities Letter

The NCUA examiner’s guide is a great resource, but it’s big. You’re not expected to be an expert on all the material therein. Not only that, but your examiners won’t run an exhaustive test of every subject in the book.

Fortunately, the NCUA examiner’s guide isn’t your only resource. Every year, the NCUA releases a letter to credit unions outlining their high-priority focus areas. They send out the letter before the start of each year, and you can read it online here.

If you reference the supervisory priority letter, you can see to which areas of the NCUA examiner’s guide you’ll need to devote extra time. You can think of the letter as a study guide to the examiner’s guide. You can look forward to a new supervisory priority letter this coming December.


Next Steps

Preparing for your next audit or exam doesn’t have to be difficult. By consulting the NCUA examiner’s guide in conjunction with the NCUA supervisory priorities letter, you’ll have a clearer idea of what you’ll need to focus on come audit season.

For other great content that will help you prepare for your next audit, check out these articles below:

Tracking Data Through your Internal Audit Process
Using the NCUA Examiner's Guide for an Internal Control Audit

Written By Brad Powell

Brad Powell runs Redboard, a company that helps credit unions better respond to regulatory examinations. He has 20 years of experience developing technology for credit unions and financial services companies.
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