NCUA cuts staff, maintains IT investment, in $321M 2018 spending plan

Implementing operational efficiencies to reduce overall staffing requirements, while continuing to invest in information technology and data analytics to improve overall performance, is the strategy that the federal regulator of credit unions has adopted in proposing 2018-19 budgets with limited growth, the agency told a public briefing today.

The briefing by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Board outlined a proposed 2018 budget of $321 million, up less than 1% (about $3 million) from 2017.

“The NCUA remains committed to ensuring the safety and soundness of the credit union system, but it realizes that the dynamics of the system are changing to relatively fewer, but larger credit unions,” said Rendell Jones, chief financial officer for the agency during the budget briefing.

Jones said a reduction for 2018 of 57 regional staff (22 CU examiners, 20 regional positions, 15 supervisory examiners) offset by seven new positions and other agency reform reallocations, will results in a net reduction of 42 positions at the agency compared to 2017. The agency has budgeted 1,183 “full-time equivalent” positions for 2018 (down 3.2% from 2017).

In information technology and data analytics, the agency is increasing its spending by just more than $600,000, having reduced spending in IT software development investments by $6.2 million, but increasing IT hardware and system costs by $6.8 million.

He noted four additional areas in which the agency is working to increase operating efficiency in the 2018 budget:

  • Consolidating regional offices from five down to three, with the closing of the Albany, N.Y., and Atlanta, Ga., offices in January 2019 and the corresponding elimination of those regional office staff positions (see image of regional map);
  • Increasing the ratio of supervisory examiners to staff from 8 staff to 1 supervisor, to 10 staff to 1 supervisor ratio;
  • Reducing the amount of leased office space by 80%, which the agency will prepare for in 2018 and 2019, but will largely go into effect when the leases expire in 2020; and
  • Continuing to discern ways to reduce agency travel and training expenses, without undercutting our organizational effectiveness.

“The budget includes necessary expenditures to ensure successful execution of the agency’s mission and strategic goals.,” Jones said. “The NCUA has made some difficult tradeoffs on where it needs to find savings in order to continue making investments to position itself with the ongoing changes in the financial sector.”

Jones noted that the 2018 budget is the fifth straight year the agency has reduced its rate of budget growth.