NCUA Audit Nightmares: Prepare, Prepare Like Crazy
In the American financial system, audits are considered especially heinous. Across the country, the dedicated employees who endure these vicious examinations are part of an elite group known as the credit union industry.

These are their stories.

The identities of the participants have been protected.

Not My First NCUA Audit

As we’ve seen through several of these audit nightmares, CEOs tend to live through several audits. Our CEO this week—Mr. Secret—survived only a handful through the last few years. However, he’s already approaching them like a seasoned professional.

One of the hardest parts about getting the hang of credit union exams is in getting coordinated. One must ensure that they know who their experts are. Then, they must keep track of hot-button issues, manage deadlines, and keep the flow of answers and documents secure and organized.

Unfortunately for Mr. Secret, his credit union is state-chartered. While that can certainly be a boon in some scenarios, it makes credit union exams difficult. Between federal and state audits, sometimes Mr. Secret feels like he’s being audited 12 months of the year.

(Side note: from the sound of things, Mr. Secret already knows how to get a head start on audit preparation.)


State and Federal Credit Union Exams!?

Being audited by two groups of examiners doesn’t leave much time for golf. Throughout the year, Mr. Secret is almost always managing some aspect of audit or inquiry. To him, the best defense is a good offense.

After weathering the constant storm of credit union exams, Mr. Secret realized something had to change. It’s not enough to be agile and reactive. It’s not enough to be familiar with your risk profile. It’s not enough to manage your experts and your files with multiple, non-standard programs like MS Excel and MS Outlook. No, it takes an aggressive, proactive approach.

The trick? “Prepare.” Better yet, “prepare like crazy.”

Mr. Secret wants to make sure his team is ready. He wants to know the answers before the examiners do. He wants to demonstrate that they’re on top of their risk profile.

Staying on Top

Especially when you feel like you’re being audited 24/7/365, the easiest way to manage your audits is to stay organized. And prepare. Prepare like crazy.

It’s much easier to track both state and federal credit union exams with the right tools. Audits are a breeze when—okay, audits are never a breeze. However, the particulars of audits are much easier to track when you’re not cobbling together documents and answers across multiple programs, communication pathways, and experts.

Using one secure tool for personnel, document, answer, communications, and deadline management is the best way to prepare (like crazy). Fortunately, Mr. Secret’s year-round audit nightmare has an easy fix.

audit checklist

FREE: Audit Checklist for Credit Unions

4 key principles and 13 questions to jumpstart your audit planning. From leading credit unions.

Credit Union Compliance Resources

Regardless of your past experience, credit union exams can throw curveballs your way. Some, like the above, may be unavoidable even with demonstrable compliance. Others can be avoided with good planning and great audit tools.

Mr. Secret from the story above knows that preparation is key to successfully navigating audits. Still, upgrading from spreadsheets, sticky notes, and email could cut a lot of guesswork out of the situation.

If you’d like to prepare for your next credit union exam, get a head start by reviewing NCUA regulations. and reading our article on 3 common credit union risks and how to address them.

Then, when you’re ready, check out our NCUA Audit Checklist.

Written By Brad Powell

Brad Powell runs Redboard, a company that helps credit unions better respond to regulatory examinations. He has 20 years of experience developing technology for credit unions and financial services companies.
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