Whoever is nominated and confirmed to replace departing board member Gigi Hyland will have some big shoes to fill when it comes to her credit union experience, industry leaders say.
Kathy Garner, president/CEO of the $2.7 billion Catalyst Corporate FCU in Plano, Texas, said Hyland’s corporate experience helped her understand the value corporates bring to the industry.
Her perspective “probably helped the NCUA put a plan into place that saved the corporates,” Garner said, and had Hyland not been on the board, corporates may have experienced a different outcome.
Additionally, Garner said Hyland’s credit union background gave her a passion for the position that doesn’t normally come with a political appointee.
Former ACCU Executive Director and former Southeast Corporate FCU President/CEO Brad Miller also lauded Hyland’s credit union background.
“Her leadership was instrumental in dealing with the system impacts resulting from the financial crisis, the corporate stabilization remedies and many other critical issues,” he said.
Washington-based Miller recently launched his own consulting firm, BLM Strategy Consulting, which provides strategic planning for financial services firms. His Florida corporate was merged into Ohio-based Corporate One this summer.
Matz said the Federal Credit Union Act states a board member can be from the industry, but having one board member with credit union experience on his or her resume isn’t required.
Hyland was executive director for the Association of Corporate Credit Unions from 1997 to 2002, and then served as senior vice president, general counsel for Empire Corporate FCU in Albany, N.Y.
Matz also has credit union experience, serving as executive vice president and chief operating officer at the $900 million Andrews FCU for a few years.
NAFCU President/CEO Fred Becker said a number of CEOs over the years have asked why a former credit union CEO hasn’t been appointed to the board.
“I always ask them to raise their hand,” he said.
California Credit Union League President/CEO Diana Dykstra said CUNA and its affiliated leagues are considering compiling a wish list of credit union representatives from both parties that could fill open board positions.
The Oval Office has a tough time finding industry candidates, she said, and the banking industry maintains a list of possible candidates that could join the FDIC board.
But will credit union CEOs volunteer for what lobbyist and consultant John McKechnie called a hard, thankless job?
“While there is a lot of talent in the credit union world, people will think long and hard before offering themselves up in that capacity,” he said.
Matz, however, said while the position is challenging and difficult “because the people you regulate usually don’t appreciate what you’re doing,” it’s also very fulfilling.
“If you really care about the industry, it’s a way to shape policy and make sure credit unions have the tools they need to survive into the future,” she said.