At its Thursday meeting via live audio webcast, the NCUA Board approved a final rule on joint-ownership share accounts. The Board was also briefed on the Share Insurance Fund’s performance during the fourth quarter of 2020 and on the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Emergency Capital Investment Program.
Joint-Ownership Share Account final rule
The Board unanimously approved a final rule amending the NCUA’s regulation governing the requirements for a share account to be separately insured as a joint account. The final rule provides federally insured credit unions with an alternative method to satisfy the membership card or account signature card requirement, according to the NCUA. For example, under the final rule, the signature card requirement can be satisfied by the credit union having issued a mechanism for accessing the account, such as a debit card, to each co-owner or evidence of usage of the joint share account by each co-owner.
“Should the pandemic’s economic fallout contribute to the failure of a federally insured credit union, these changes would facilitate the prompt payment of share insurance on joint accounts,” said Todd Harper, NCUA chairman.
The final rule is effective 30 days from date of publication in the Federal Register.
Share Insurance Fund
The Board received a briefing on the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund and the status of the fund’s equity ratio. The fund reported a net income of $32.9 million and a net position of $18.9 billion for 2020, according to the briefing. Additionally, the fund’s assets rose to $19.1 billion at the end of the year from $16.7 billion at the end of 2019.
As of Dec. 31, 2020, the Share Insurance Fund’s calculated equity ratio was 1.26%, an increase from 1.22% reported as of June 30, 2020, while the equity ratio was calculated on an insured share base of $1.5 trillion, according to the briefing. It was noted that the equity ratio was lower than the Board-approved normal operating level of 1.38%.
“The primary factors contributing most significantly to the continuing decline in the equity ratio — strong growth in insured shares and reduced investment returns — remain and will likely continue in the future,” Harper said.
Emergency Capital Investment Program
The Board was also briefed on the Emergency Capital Investment Program, and how it could be leveraged by eligible federally insured credit unions. The briefing included information on the program’s eligibility and application requirements, the financial instrument and terms used for this investment and whether credit unions can use the investment as secondary capital. More information on the program is available on the NCUA website.