WASHINGTON -- NCUA Board Member Gigi Hyland said credit unions will thrive in the future if their relationship with her agency is characterized by "constructive conflict," while Board Member Michael Fryzel urged credit unions to use their good reputation as a basis for getting some of their legislative priorities passed by Congress.
Hyland told attendees at CUNA's Governmental Affairs Conference that in many instances it is good for the agency "to get out of your way to let you serve your members" but in other instances the agency has to take strong steps to ensure that credit unions remain safe and sound.
Fryzel said the NCUA and credit unions are "communicating better than ever."
Hyland noted that while she supports lifting the cap on member business loans, the agency must be vigilant to ensure that credit unions are handling such programs in a responsible manner. She reiterated her belief that credit unions should take baby steps when trying to get involved in that type of lending, and they should "crawl before they walk and walk before they run."
Fryzel said the NCUA's rules should be "based on a credit union's safety and soundness, capital structure and ability to be involved in that product."
Hyland also said that to ensure the future health of the credit union movement, CEOs must collaborate closely with their staffs and fellow CEOs to find ways to improve how credit unions serve and educate their members. She urged volunteers to ensure that the makeup of credit union boards is more reflective of their field of membership and that the board is not a rubber stamp for management.
She said it is "time for the credit union movement to move" and "have a vision backed up by strong action."
Fryzel told attendees that "you are the best because you work to be the best," and this reputation gives them strong credibility to be effective advocates for their cause with state and federal governments. He urged attendees to talk to lawmakers about the advantages of raising the cap on member business lending and allowing credit unions to accept supplemental capital.
He also said that the agency is maintaining strong communication with American Share Insurance Inc. to make certain that all credit unions remain strong because troubles with any credit union results in financial losses or bad publicity that "hurts us all."