Richards & Associates was founded in 1967 by two former NCUA examiners and throughout the years has provided professional services to hundreds of credit unions. In 1968, members of the firm were instrumental in the formation of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU), now one of the two largest national trade associations representing credit unions. This newly formed trade association spearheaded the effort to obtain federal share insurance for credit union members. A partner of the firm was included in a select group of individuals, who actually testified before the United States Congress to enact legislation providing deposit insurance. This successful legislation paved the way for the creation of the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF), which is the envy of the financial industry.
During the early 1970s, William D. Richards, co-founder of the firm, developed a single signature loan system that completely revolutionized lending in credit unions. Utilizing the legal background of our professional staff, we created a lending system that enabled credit union members to request loans over the telephone and receive funds in the mail, without having to visit the office. It was the forerunner of current loan systems being marketed and installed in hundreds of credit unions throughout the nation. So unique was this concept that NCUA examiners commonly referred to the endorsement signature lending programs as "Richards'-type Loan Systems."
We do not measure our success as a firm by the number of nationwide offices or the size of our clientele. Clearly Richards & Associates is a regional firm serving a specific geographic area. Our mission statement is very simple; we strive to provide the highest level of personalized professional service to the credit union community. Over nearly four decades we have developed a reputation within the credit union community and, by emphasizing quality, our clientele continues to grow. Richards & Associates was ranked number two in the state of California in a recent survey of credit union auditing firms with respect to the size of clientele.
Most credit unions select an auditor based on the reputation of the firm and the credentials of the staff assigned to the engagement, not by the number of offices they have. Much like selecting a personal physician, the best choice is not always the one with the most patients, but instead the equally qualified professional who is always available when the need arises.
Throughout the years we have learned much from our credit union clients. Credit unions have found ‘branching’ to be an expensive approach to serving their members, and like them we have followed the trend of utilizing technology instead of brick and mortar. Realistically the cost of branch offices and other overhead is included in your audit fee. With the technology available today we have been able to limit our operating expenses and thus maintain a reasonable fee structure for our clients. We believe that your auditors should exercise the same operational efficiency expected of the credit union's management team.
The majority of our expense dollars are spent to attract and retain qualified professionals. With the exception of a small administrative staff, all of our professionals directly serve clients. Funds that would otherwise be used to pay office rent, salary, and benefits for executives, is channeled into staff development and training. The single most significant factor to be considered in your selection process is the qualifications of the professionals assigned to your engagement.
We recruit our auditors from the local colleges and universities, selecting those with high academic achievements and a commitment to obtaining the professional designation, Certified Public Accountant. Ideally we try to locate candidates who possess these qualifications and also have experience in the financial industry. We have selected the audit team that would be assigned to your engagement based on the information provided in your request for proposal and our review of the credit union's most recent financial statements. A brief resume for each member of the team is enclosed to help you evaluate their credentials. It should be noted that the proposed audit team has combined credit union experience of more than seventy-five years.
Although Richards & Associates was originally established in the field of credit union auditing, we now offer the following services to our clients:
• Internal audit programs
• Strategic planning facilitation
• Fraud audits and bond claim investigations
• Data processing system evaluations
• Expert witness testimony regarding credit union matters
• Supervision of annual election process
• Executive search assistance
To ensure the quality of our professional services and protect the interests of our clients, we carry accountant’s professional liability insurance in the amount of $1 million. Richards & Associates has been insured by Cal Accountants Mutual Insurance Company (CAMICO) since 1986 and has never had to submit a claim.