NCUA Vice Chairman Kyle Hauptman and board member Rodney Hood shared updates from the agency, their regulatory philosophies, and more Tuesday at the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.
“I can say that both the credit union system, and your NCUA insurance, are in pretty good shape,” Hauptman said. “NCUA’s insurance fund is at 1.30% of insured assets, having recovered from the dip caused by pandemic stimulus. Plus, the fund is entirely invested in US Treasury bonds, which tend to increase in value during economic downturns.”
He also praised credit unions for their financial wellness efforts and encouraged them to find new ways to do more.
“Our society isn’t the best at getting people to save and invest. This is where credit unions come in, with financial literacy and savings programs that improve their members’ financial wellness,” he said. “My description of financial wellness is that it’s a phenomenal product that is available for purchase on the open market via saving and investing.
“As you all know, financial wellness isn’t just about a retirement that may be decades away. It’s peace of mind, that makes every day better. It’s knowing you can lose a job and not lose your home,” he added. “It’s being able to leave a job you hate and pursue one you love. Financial wellness can save relationships. Financial wellness is a great product that we only buy if we value it more than all the cool ways to spend money.”
He said his priorities on the board are: Revamping the de novo chartering process; modernizing agency transparency and feedback; and harnessing the power of blockchain technology and digital assets.
“On the issue of de novos, we’ve revamped and streamlined the chartering process,” he said. “We will be rolling out a provisional credit union charter that fixes the chicken and egg problem, whereby a potential credit union wants to get its initial capital from a CDFI but can’t get that capital until we’ve issued them a charter. Still, we wouldn’t issue the charter until that credit union has the capital. I’m proud of these improvements – I think it’s a part of facilitating true financial inclusion.”
Hood told attendees that the agency was preparing to announce a refund from the Share Insurance Fund that, “should be in the neighborhood of $281 million to 2,900 credit unions.”
Hood also—having served on the NCUA Board during the financial crisis of 2008—advised the movement, “don’t be alarmed but be alert and be prepared,” going into a year many have forecast as a rough economic year.
He also shared his regulatory philosophy with credit unions.
“I’ve always said we need a regulatory system that is effective without being excessive, and I believe the purpose of regulation is not to hinder credit unions — the purpose is to empower credit unions so your institutions can provide the highest level of service to your members and your communities,” he said.
He listed numerous examples he’s heard firsthand during his travels of the credit union difference, and said they illustrate why the movement “remains a vibrant, innovative part of the financial services ecosystem.”
“The ethos of ‘people helping people’ remains as compelling today as it was a century ago when the cooperative finance movement really started picking up momentum,” he added. “Your mission is to keep that momentum going and to carry the values of the credit union movement forward for future generations.”
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