Are You Ready for Merit?



What is MERIT:


Modern Examination & Risk Identification Tool


MERIT is NCUA’s new examination tool with enhanced, integrated analytics that provide examiners with modernized abilities to identify trends and potential risks in credit unions. MERIT replaces AIRES, a 25-year-old legacy application. The financial analytics combine several data resources together, including the Call Report data and trends data over time.


MERIT gives examiners the ability to document examination results, generate the report issued to the credit union, and formally follow up on examination concerns. Additionally, the new application allows the NCUA and SSAs to work jointly together on examinations, which should reduce redundancy, increase efficiency, and improve communication.


Per NCUA "MERIT also offers an avenue for examiners to securely interact with credit unions and streamline the examination process." Some changes credit union MERIT users can expect to see include:

  • Receipt of document request lists, also known as “surveys”;

  • Electronic delivery of examination reports; and

  • Examination concerns tracking and response workflows.

Document Request List Surveys

MERIT allows credit unions to securely transfer documents to the NCUA and SSA exam team, as applicable, through the system’s “survey” functionality. Examiners can send a document request list (survey) through MERIT rather than through other manual or electronic means, thus improving the efficiency of the document request process. After logging into NCUA Connect and opening MERIT, authorized credit union users can respond to the survey, attach requested documents, provide supporting comments to specific line items, and securely send the survey back to the examination team. All documents stored with the examination record will follow the NCUA’s approved records retention schedules. Document request surveys are organized by risk area and can also be delegated to other credit union users to help fulfill these examination requests.


Additionally, users can generate several survey inventory reports. Through these reports, users can see historical MERIT survey requests, open the survey form, and view all related documents and comments provided to the examiner.


Electronic Delivery of Examination Reports

MERIT allows examiners to securely send examination reports to credit union management at the conclusion of the exam.7 Authorized staff and officials may access MERIT and download the examination report from their dashboard, providing an easy and efficient way to access official reports. MERIT also retains a history of reports, allowing credit unions to view and download historical reports sent through the system, as needed.


Examination Concerns Tracking & Response Workflows

One of the most credit union friendly parts of MERIT is an electronic solution which allows credit unions to track outstanding concerns, document resolution progress, and send updates to the examiner. Credit union users can formally request due date extensions through MERIT if additional time is needed to correct the examination concern. These enhancements create more formal follow-up processes, document communications between the credit union and the examiner, and provide greater transparency in the examination process.


WHEN SHOULD YOU REQUEST ACCESS:


Credit unions are encouraged to wait until they are notified of their first exam in MERIT before requesting and obtaining access, as there is no information specific to those organizations in the system until that time. Further, as part of enhanced security, user accounts are locked after a period of inactivity, and user access would need to be restored once notified of an upcoming examination.


If you could use help on your examination, reach out at info@marktreichel.com