In response to the vocal criticism of the proposed 9.6% increase to NCUA’s operating budget for 2023, the board finalized its spending plan with $6.7 million cut from the final numbers.
The final requested budget brings the NCUA’s operating costs to $344.1 million, down from the earlier proposed $350.8 million. The $344M budget still results in a 7.5% increase over the previous year.
Among the decisions made to reduce the 2023 operating budget were deferring three specialist examiner positions until 2024, cutting new positions it had previously proposed for regional offices, and reducing the travel budget by $1 million.
Speaking on the budget changes, Chairman Todd Harper said, “Compared to the overall funding and staffing levels shown in the staff draft budget, this budget is now smaller in terms of dollars and staff. However, it is still a step in the direction of achieving the NCUA’s mission of protecting credit union members and consumers, maintaining the safety and soundness credit unions, and safeguarding the credit union system and the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund.”
Vice Chairman Kyle Hauptman’s response was a little more cynical of government spending: “Prosperity is wonderful, and I wish everyone had it. I will say that during the pandemic, when [we were] doing virtual meetings, I was struck how many NCUA employees were at their second home. And that’s great for them; in this country, we celebrate success and abundance. But I think we all understand why the general public looks at DC with something approaching disdain.”
Where the budget did not change much, however, was in its requested budget for 2024. When proposed at the briefing in October, the NCUA was requesting $350M for 2023 and a whopping $388M for 2024. This 2024 budget would represent an even bigger 10.7% increase than the 9.6% increase for 2023.
Though the NCUA Board agreed to cut spending in 2023 by $6.7M to the new $344M value, the 2024 budget only decreased by $611,518, from $388.2M to $387.6M. Meaning the increase has actually gone up to a 12.6% change.
The board also approved a $15 million credit against the 2023 operating fee. This would be a 1.8% decrease from the current level.