Decker Nomination: Total Silence Descends
When it comes to the status of Carla Decker’s nomination to the NCUA board, on Capitol Hill and at the White House the silence has been deafening.
March 13, 2012: Decker NCUA Nomination Withdrawn
March 28, 2012: NCUA Bans Credit Union Board Member for Decker Disclosure
Following the omission of her name from the Senate Banking Committee’s list of nominees who were scheduled to have a hearing on Nov. 17, there have been no public developments.
The committee hadn’t officially announced that Decker, the president/CEO of District Government Employees FCU, was to be included in the hearing. However, sources within the financial services industry had been told that it would take place.
The plans changed following reports in Credit Union Times about a 2010 NCUA examination of Decker’s credit union that rated it a CAMEL 3 and concluded that it was a “high strategic risk.”
A source close to the committee said they were trying to find a time for a hearing, but there haven’t been any additional announcements.
The NCUA’s examination reports are confidential and aren’t given to the White House as part of the screening process for prospective nominees. However, during the interview, candidates are asked if there is any professional or personal information that if it became known would embarrass the Obama administration or them.
The White House press office did not respond to two emails seeking comment, though a financial services industry source said administration officials were trying to find a way to salvage the nomination.
As of press time, Decker hadn’t had a meeting with Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) or the panel’s top Republican, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.). Those meetings are usually prerequisites to there being a hearing.
NCUA officials have been assisting Decker as she navigates the confirmation process, but the agency declined comment on its efforts.
NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz, who was appointed to her post by President Obama, urged the administration to nominate Decker. She hasn’t said anything about it publically since she and the other two NCUA board members issued statements praising Decker when her nomination was announced.
Matz has close ties to Pete Rouse, senior counselor to Obama and a former chief of staff to former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.
At her 2009 confirmation hearing, Johnson called Matz an "honorary South Dakotan” because of her professional and personal ties to the state, stemming in part from her friendship with Daschle.
Matz’s husband, lawyer-lobbyist Marshall Matz, is a close friend of Daschle, after working as a public interest lawyer in South Dakota in the 1970s. When President Bush named Debbie Matz to the board in 2002, for her first stint on the panel, he did so at Daschle’s recommendation.
Obama nominated Decker to the board in October to succeed NCUA Board Member Gigi Hyland, whose term expired in August. Hyland can remain on the board until a successor is sworn in.
Decker’s credit union, which has 10,800 members and assets of $45 million, reported a profit of $31,167 in the first six months of 2011. That follows losses of $119,797 for 2007, $369,282 for 2008, $483,946 for 2009, and $322,790 for 2010.
The examination report noted that the credit union had unreconciled ATM and ACH accounts going back to 2002 totaling $734,235 that were not written off. The report warned that if the funds were not discovered, they must be written off in the first quarter of 2011, which would likely result in net worth drop to 10.77%.
Last December, the NCUA and the credit union signed a letter of understanding and agreement setting certain goals for return on average assets for 2011 and mandating certain reductions in operating expenses and other management and financial changes.
The document also required the credit union’s board to send monthly progress reports to the NCUA that include board minutes, monthly financial statements, a summary of delinquent loans by category and the methodology sheet for calculating allowance for loan and lease losses.
The credit union exceeded the targeted return on average assets for the first three quarters of 2011.
The NCUA and credit union also signed a document of resolution requiring the implementation of an expense reduction plan and monitor the progress of the plan.