NCUA Nominees Hood, Harper Appear before Senate Banking Committee

A full, three-person board at the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) is best equipped to handle the varied issues facing the credit union industry, CUNA wrote Thursday to the Senate Banking Committee. The committee heard testimony Thursday from NCUA board nominees Rodney Hood and Todd Harper.

CUNA does not historically take positions on presidential nominations and did not express any views on the merits of the nominations in its letter.

“CUNA continues to strongly support the NCUA’s current status as an independent regulator and insurer. Maintaining a separate, independent federal credit union regulator and insurer is critically important to the credit union system,” the letter reads. “The structural and mission-driven differences between credit unions and banks necessitate such a regulatory scheme: credit unions’ not-for-profit structure and their mission to promote thrift and provide access to credit for provident purposes are fundamentally different than other financial services providers.”

CUNA also highlighted recent NCUA actions that have been positive for credit unions, including extended examination cycles, call report modernization, NCUA’s efforts defending its field of membership and NCUA Chairman J. Mark McWatters’ commitment to respecting the spirit and intent of a Presidential Executive Order to reduce regulatory burden, even though it doesn’t apply to NCUA.

CUNA’s letter also:

  • Urges the agency and the nominees to maintain an open dialogue with CUNA, the state leagues and credit unions to ensure awareness of areas where improvements are needed, for example, the risk-based capital rule;
  • Encourages NCUA, and the nominees, to undertake a more proactive and collaborative strategy to better prepare credit union for implementation of the current expected credit loss (CECL) standard; and
  • Stresses the importance of NCUA’s continued coordination with other federal regulators.

In his testimony, Harper shares his experiences working on the Credit Union Membership Access Act and other legislation, as well as helping to organize the first hearing on the Temporary Corporate Credit Union Stabilization Fund during the financial crisis.

“In my view, financial regulators need to be fair and forward looking; innovative, inclusive, and independent; risk focused and ready to act expeditiously when necessary; and appropriately engaged with all stakeholders to develop effective, but not excessive, regulation,” he said.

Hood’s testimony highlighted his knowledge of the financial services industry and understanding of financial regulators. He also recalled the launch of NCUA’s Enterprise Risk Management Summits was one of his lasting achievements from his previous term on the NCUA board.

“My experiences in the private and public sectors have provided me with leadership opportunities and have taught me valuable lessons about responsibility, accountability and transparency. This includes the importance of building solid teams, paying attention to the basics, and putting a face on the decisions you make,” he said. “These experiences have provided me with a sound foundation and robust skill set for evaluating the policy issues facing the NCUA board.”

The committee also heard testimony from Mark Calabria, nominee to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency. CUNA submitted a letter on Calabria’s nomination as well (see related story).