NCUA Board Chairman Debbie Matz has a right to her opinion about the Dodd-Frank Act. No matter how wrong. And as her July 27 Guest Opinion so clearly demonstrated, on the topic of the Dodd-Frank Act, Matz is really, really, really wrong. Her remarks provided ample evidence that even well-intentioned people looking at the same set of facts from different world views can come to very different conclusions. The Dodd-Frank Act is an ideologically driven bane, not a financial system safety and soundness boon.
Making her contribution to the ongoing partisan spin-doctoring that has dogged Dodd-Frank since its inception, Democratic presidential appointee Matz toed the party line in her hyperbolic praise of the interventionist law. The chairman delivered unwelcomed rhetorical gasoline that further inflamed the fundamental political disagreement, including disagreement within the credit union industry, over the appropriateness of the act’s misguided mandates and regulatory overkill.
What exactly has the Dodd-Frank Act achieved other than to totally disrupt the lives of credit union CEOs and boards of directors? Will controlling financial markets generate new jobs and put delinquent credit union consumer members back to work? Will regulating the unregulated generate tangible movement toward achieving a sorely needed economic recovery?
Perhaps Chairman Matz can elaborate on how the Dodd-Frank’s crushing regulatory burden and marketplace interference, like the Durbin debit interchange price controls, helps credit unions’ members. It is much more likely that post-Dodd-Frank credit union members will be left with the sense that there is a broken financial regulatory system that can’t be fixed.
And the NCUA chairman was apparently also at ease with watching the NCUA turn into a subservient branch office of the ideologically loaded Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB has already demonstrated its intent to micro-manage financial depositories and other lenders. Under the Dodd-Frank Act the CFPB was deliberately crafted to be an interfering market controller with an adversarial chip on its shoulder that assumes that financial services providers are guilty until proven innocent.
One would hope that even while writing this misguided article, Matz realized that she does not speak for all of us working in the credit union industry. Her seat on the Financial Stability Oversight Council does not mean “that credit unions have a voice,” but instead means that she does. She certainly does not speak for this credit union member.
Marvin C. Umholtz
Umholtz Strategic Planning