Q: Going forward, are you optimistic about the health of the credit union system?
A: Yes. I think that the credit union system is in very good shape and the future of the credit union system is very bright. Credit unions, as you know, are dynamic and innovative, but they must also continue to evolve to meet the needs of not only their members but future members.
They really need to continue to reach out and market to millennials, and provide the types of tools and services to them that they need and want.
I think they’re getting that message, probably more so with the medium- to larger-sized credit unions than with the small credit unions.
There are going to continue to be challenges: an aging membership is a big challenge. That’s why they need to continue to reach out to young people and turn those potential members into members.
Interest rate risk, cybersecurity--those are all issues that are not only supervisory concerns at NCUA, but issues that credit unions really need to deal with in their everyday business environment. They seem to be responding well to those issues and doing what they need to do. They’re going to need to be aggressive, particularly when it comes to cybersecurity.
With the growth in membership, and the increasing sophistication of credit unions, I think they will continue to grow and thrive into the future.
Q: What role do you see the NCUA playing in getting the word out to millennials?
A: I don’t really see that as NCUA’s role to tell you the truth. I see the NCUA’s role as the regulator and the insurer, and I think we have to be very careful not to cross the line from regulator to cheerleader or to advocate. We try very hard to do that here.
Of course, if I’m on Capitol Hill, and I’m asked about the tax issue, I take that opportunity to explain the difference between credit unions and banks because I feel taxation would have a very adverse impact on the safety and soundness of the credit union system.
But I don’t really feel that as a regulator, it’s our role to discuss the difference [between credit unions and banks], and to advocate for credit unions in that manner.