Nevertheless, the four people who are most often mentioned as possible candidates for a spot on the NCUA Board are working to line up support. NCUA Vice Chairman Rodney Hood's term ends April 10, though he can serve until a successor is named.
These include former NCUA Board Member Geoff Bacino, former California/Nevada Credit Union League President David Chatfield, credit union consultant W. Robert Hall, former NCUA Executive Director Carolyn Jordan and Mike Reyna, the former CEO of the Farm Credit Administration.
President Obama can designate the new person as a regular board member or chairman. He could also keep NCUA Chairman Michael E. Fryzel, who was appointed by President Bush, in the post or designate NCUA Board Member Gigi Hyland as chairman. Even if Obama removes Fryzel as chairman, he could remain on the board as his term doesn't expire until 2012.
Nominees to the board must be confirmed by a majority vote of both the Senate Banking Committee and the full Senate.
Chatfield, who has been retired from his post for almost three years, said in an interview that the chance to use his experience to help credit unions through the economic crisis would motivate him to come out of retirement.
"I'm happily retired and in ordinary times I'd stay that way. But these aren't ordinary times. I believe in what NCUA does and in President Obama," said Chatfield, who served as a credit union CEO before running the California/Nevada League and the Alaska Credit Union League.
Chatfield would be the second current member, besides Hyland, with credit union experience. But because it's been more than three years since he worked for a credit union, he is eligible to be appointed. Federal law allows only one person who has had direct credit union experience within three years of being appointed from serving on the NCUA Board at any time.
Bacino, who held a one-year recess appointment on the NCUA Board under President Clinton, recently resigned from the Federal Housing Finance Board, a post he was appointed to by President Bush at the recommendation of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Bacino, who now has his own lobbying firm which is affiliated with law firm of Vice President Biden's son, Hunter, declined to discuss his interest, saying he didn't want the nomination process played out in the press.