Members of Congress question NCUA actions, statements on climate risks

February 8, 2022

Senators and Representatives from agriculture-producing states wrote to NCUA Chairman Todd Harper Monday with concerns over the agency’s description of regulating climate-related financial risks.

The members of Congress note farmers, ranchers, and producers across the country rely on access to their local credit unions and other financial institutions.

They add the potential for new regulations, increased examinations, and scrutiny of credit unions whose field of membership encompasses rural and agricultural communities could impact their ability to access credit.

“[S]everal of us have already heard of several of our constituent credit unions that will face an increased exam cycle solely based on their level of agricultural concentrations,” the letter reads. “Placing increased regulations on those that serve the agricultural industry will threaten to restrict access to credit in rural communities, which could have serious consequences for an industry that is already facing high inflation and increased input costs. We encourage you to continue to support agricultural lending, and not overly burden credit unions for supporting their local farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses, and their communities.”

The letter was signed by Sens. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.), and Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.).

CUNA—in its comments on NCUA’s strategic plan—called on NCUA to provide credit unions with additional tools to address climate related risks, and to avoid regulatory mandates or other actions that could be widely construed as “meddling.”