Hauptman: NCUA should help CUs offer American dream to more

July 21, 2020

The last few months have demonstrated the cooperative nature of credit unions, NCUA board nominee Kyle Hauptman told members of the Senate Banking Committee Tuesday. Hauptman, a native of Maine and current economic advisor to Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), said he particularly enjoyed working with Arkansas credit unions and their companions in the Cornerstone Credit Union League.

“Credit unions help people achieve the same American dream that my dad experienced, born in Brooklyn to parents with fourth-grade educations. His dad, my grandfather, worked in the NYC subway putting up advertising,” he said in his testimony. “That man’s grandson is now before the US Senate, a testament to American opportunity, and at NCUA my overarching goal will be extending that kind of opportunity to as many people as possible.”

Hauptman recalled losing his job, savings and work visa while working in Asia for Lehman Brothers and said it “showed me first-hand the risks associated with liquidity, interest rates and balance-sheet management,” a perspective he said should be both “valuable and somewhat unique on the NCUA board.”

He also touted his ability to work in a bipartisan fashion, recalling his work with the staff of Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Sen. Sherrod Brown’s (D-Ohio) staff on reforming anti-money laundering laws.

Hauptman said his priorities at NCUA would be:

  • Managing the fallout from the current pandemic and economic downturn, as “credit unions were chartered to serve those of modest means, and I plan to work with them, the Board and Congress on solutions for those facing financial stress,” he said;
  • Technology, specifically to “expand technology’s role in reaching the underserved;”
  • Aligning incentives. As an example, he noted an “excellent policy that serves as a model here is the less-frequent exam cycle for credit unions that get the highest marks on their NCUA exams for safety and stability. This policy lets regulators focus on more problematic credit unions, while the well-run credit unions strive to keep earning that benefit. This is policy where safety and soundness are well-aligned with serving members.”

CUNA wrote to the committee Monday detailing its priorities for the NCUA board going forward. The Arkansas Credit Union Association also submitted a letter for the hearing.