Agency warns credit unions of 16% increase in operating fees due this year, after budget changes, lack of credits

Operating fees payable to their federal regulator will be up more than 16% in 2024, federal credit unions were warned in a letter issued Friday, a result of new annual budgets “and other factors” including a lack of credits from prior years.

National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Board Chairman Todd Harper, in the letter, said the increase of 16.36% in the fees, charged to federally chartered credit unions and which partly fund the operations of the agency, is the result of growth in the agency’s budget – but also a “lack of a 2024 operating fee credit for unspent fees collected in past years.”

“The 2024 operating fee is based on the NCUA’s operating and capital budgets, which grew approximately 7% combined, between 2023 and 2024,” Harper wrote. “The NCUA applied credits to the operating fee charges for 2022 and 2023 for the fees it collected but did not spend in 2021 and 2022, largely because of reduced travel spending during the COVID-19 pandemic. Travel-related spending increased in 2023, and the NCUA ended the year without sufficient balances to provide a credit to the 2024 operating fee.”

Harper also noted that the small credit union operating fee exemption for 2024 rose from $1 million to $2 million. Federal credit unions with a four-quarter average of $2 million or less in total assets are exempt from the operating fee.

The letter also points out that this year’s operating fee will be based on a four-quarter average of total assets reported as of Sept. 30, 2023; June 30, 2023; March 31, 2023; and Dec. 31, 2022.

In March, federal credit unions with four-quarter average total assets greater than $2 million will receive an invoice for their 2024 operating fees, the letter notes. The fees are due no later than April 18.

NCUA Letter to Federal Credit Unions 24-FCU-1:Federal Credit Union Operating Fee Schedule for 2024