In a virtual townhall with Nebraska state-chartered credit unions, newly appointed Director Kelly Lammers of the Nebraska Department of Banking and Finance (NDB&F) congratulated credit unions on their mission critical service to members during this pandemic. Director Lammers became Nebraska’s 38th director of the NDB&F and he took office on September 8th following the retirement of former director Mark Quandahl. Lammers has a many years of service with the NDB&F and is the first former field examiner to eventually serve as the Director.
The Department oversees financial institutions as well as the bureau of securities. The agency is entirely funded by the institutions it regulates and therefore it receives no general funding from the state. The primary purpose of the Department is to examine those regulated industries under its purview to ensure safety and soundness and compliance with the law. In addition to credit unions, the Department regulates banks, savings and loans, trust companies, mortgage lenders, money transmitters, delayed deposit servicers, as well as securities.
Darcy Bailar, deputy director at the Department spoke to the Mitigating the Risks of Ransomware Assessment sent to credit unions and banks. She indicated that it is voluntary but urged credit unions to consider completing the questionnaire. Director Lammers indicated that the allowance for virtual annual meetings and board meetings will continue until the “emergency” due to the pandemic is over. Scott Sullivan, President/CEO of the League noted the importance that virtual meetings have become for credit unions during the pandemic and suggested that credit unions have an option to continue virtual meetings beyond the pandemic.
When it comes to examinations of credit unions, Director Lammers indicated that remote exams would continue at least through March of 2021 but that no decision has been made beyond that. He indicated that efficiencies have been achieved in remote examinations. Darren Davis who serves as Review Examiner for the Department said that examiners would be receiving training by the NCUA on its MERIT system being held in Omaha. The Department indicated that they do not have a “credit union” dedicated examiners at this time but asked credit unions to encourage those who have credit union experience to apply. Director Lammers said that the dramatic increase in money transmitters has resulted in some of the staff being redirected to deal with the influx of these companies.
Director Lammers indicated that Governor Ricketts certified the November 3rd election results on December 8th which included a voter approved 36% cap on the interest that delayed deposit service providers, or payday lenders as they are called, can charge their customers. This may result in payday lenders exiting the market place and their customers then looking to credit unions to provide future short term liquidity options.