Carla Decker, the CEO of the 10,600-member District Government Employees Federal Credit Union, last week took herself out of consideration as a NCUA board nominee.
March 28, 2012, NCUA Bans Credit Union Board Member for Decker Disclosure
The Obama administration had nominated Decker to fill the seat currently held by Gigi Hyland whose term expired in August 2011.
In an interview with Credit Union Times, Decker said that the overall process, from the day the White House first approached her about the nomination to the day she took her name out of the running, had been about a year. She decided to withdraw the nomination, she said, because she had received advice that given this was an election year with a particularly partisan atmosphere, it was unlikely the nomination would move to a hearing soon.
“The controversial recess appointment of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also made the process difficult, I was told,” she added.
Decker said that she was not aware of outright opposition to her nomination but said that she was aware of questions about her CU's performance that arose in the media.
Decker said she had never questioned her qualifications for the job and that she would not have stepped forward for it if she had. She also explained that the Obama administration had only nominated her after hearing her name repeatedly from people within the industry that she would be a good choice.
Decker's nomination was supported by a number of credit unions and credit union industry groups such as the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions. The CU is a CDCU.
The controversy over Decker's nomination only grew after the CU's December 2010 exam report became public. The report criticized the CU for not having foreclosure procedures, inadequate reporting to the credit union’s board on information security and willingness by management to assume an unacceptable level of interest rate risk.
Decker said that one of the most challenging aspects of the nomination process was not being to speak up to provide some context in which to understand the credit union's performance.
“As a presidential nominee, you are asked not to speak to the media,” Decker said, and that made it difficult when questions about her credit union's performance came up.
Decker still declined to comment on the 2010 exam report, noting her credit union's policy of not speaking about confidential documents, even those which had been made public. But she commented on her credit union's performance, noting that during that period the CU had already made strategic decisions to launch a couple of projects, in particular to build a new branch and to switch to a new data processing system, that it knew would be expensive in the short run but it believed would serve members in the longer run.
“These were strategic decisions to build the infrastructure that would serve our members into the future,” Decker said. “We knew they would be expensive, but that is why we had reserves.”
Even with the controversy, the lengthy and detailed vetting process and disclosure documents, when asked if she would do it again, Decker replied, “Yes, absolutely.”
Meanwhile, outgoing BECU President/CEO Gary Oakland last week said he might be interested in a spot on the NCUA Board.
“I would be flattered to be considered for a position with NCUA,” said the head of the $10 billion Seattle CU, the nation’s fourth-largest, adding he is unsure that his management strengths would align with the agency’s needs.
“Especially, there are many other qualified candidates who would probably be a better fit,” Oakland told Credit Union Times.
And asked why he might not be qualified for the NCUA spot, Oakland said he “might be the one to kick butt” within the agency staff.
Oakland is retiring in May and NCUA watchers say he has been on the A list of those who could win White House support and congressional confirmation.