David Chatfield, interim California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues president/CEO, wasted no time jumping back into the spotlight, harshly criticizing the NCUA in a June 30 interview with Credit Union Times from his home in Prescott, Ariz. Chatfield is slated returned to his former position at the trade organization on July 6, taking over for Bill Cheney, the incoming CUNA president/CEO, while the leagues find a permanent replacement.
Chatfield said NCUA seized Arrowhead Credit Union June 25 because some in the agency "had an axe to grind." (See article, page 1.) He also spoke out against NCUA's support of the financial reform bill because language that could reduce interchange income for credit unions is still included.
"I think it's disappointing and surprising that NCUA announced support for the bill, because as is, it will hit credit unions pretty hard," he said. "I think CUNA made good arguments about how the ultimate burden will be put upon consumers, in this case credit union members, and it's a shame NCUA decided to take a different approach."
Despite the headline grabbing statements, Chatfield said he has no interest in a permanent league position and plans to return to retirement once Cheney's replacement is selected.
"I'm not seeking opportunities to take a public role or do a lot of traveling," he said. "That's best left to the new leader. But, I will deal with issues while I'm here."
That will include managing the leagues' employees, who Chatfield called a solid group and managing the trade organization's financial condition, products and services, and legislative and regulatory initiatives.
"This is certainly a different world than when I retired," he said. "But in a way that makes it more challenging, and that's not bad. I hate to see the issues we're facing, but dealing with challenges is my style anyway. I'm not reluctant to help or to speak out."
However, he did decline to state an opinion on corporate stabilization or the condition of Western Corporate Federal Credit Union, once a part of the California league. After four years in retirement, most of which was spent with his seven grandchildren, Chatfield said he's still coming up to speed on some issues.
"While I was at the league, we pretty much let WesCorp deal with their own financial issues, and we only helped when we were wanted. Obviously, it's a different world now," he said.
A search committee plans to have a new leader in office before the leagues' November annual meetings.