C. Myblog

Appropriately Managing Risks to Net Worth

April 3, 2014

Many risks are present in credit union structures and business models today. Interest rate risk, liquidity risk, credit risk, compliance risk, regulatory risk, business risk, fraud risk—the list can go on and on. Increasing regulatory pressure to ensure that all risks are understood and quantified heightens the stakes for all involved in the risk management process. Sometimes, the volume of risks can lead many managers to become overwhelmed.

For instance, think about how much net worth is at risk in your credit union’s structure from:

  • Interest rate risk
  • Liquidity risk
  • Credit risk (beyond PLL expectations and current reserves)
  • Business risk
  • Regulatory risk

The key in evaluating any of the risks above is to determine the level of impact for which the credit union wants to be prepared. Regarding interest rate risk, what is the amount of net worth placed at risk in the interest rate environment the credit union wants to protect against? From a liquidity standpoint, what would the potential cost(s) be of an unplanned liquidity shortfall? Strategically, what areas of business is the credit union involved in that may be threatened – either from competition or from an over-dependence on a source of revenue? None of the above are easy questions to answer, but starting with a list of your management team’s concerns is a good starting point to ensure that the credit union has a sufficient level of net worth.

Before tying the hands of decision makers by creating unnecessary policies and procedures, take the time to discuss all risks present in the credit union, and how to best address them. First discussing and then understanding the risks the credit union is exposed to is often more than half the battle when quantifying the enterprise-wide risks to net worth.

  • Gregg Stockdale

    •”Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” (Sign hanging in Einstein’s office at Princeton)

    We need to get back to the on-going value of a credit union, not it’s liquidation value.

    The lure of numbers has drawn us away from the reality of serving members needs. The real risk is in losing the industry by trying to avoid risks. Being a credit union is a long-term risk business. We can’t run our shops to stop an instant anything… we survive over time. The micro-focus of “rates up” is absurd. We’ve been through many business cycles in the past. Rates up is a good thing (after you adjust)… it’s not something to be feared or worth giving up current income in order to prepare for “whenever”.

    We’ve had rated down for about 30 years… has anyone ever heard NCUA talk about going long to lock in the rates?

    NEWSFLASH – The sky is NOT falling!

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