Rick Metsger, a former Oregon state senator who has sponsored credit union legislation and once served on a credit union board, was nominated by President Barack Obama May 15 to serve on the NCUA Board.
If confirmed by the Senate, the Democrat Metsger would likely replace former Board Member Gigi Hyland, who left the NCUA Oct. 5, 2012, after serving more than a year past her term’s expiration. The choice of a Democrat by Obama to replace Hyland is an odd one because the term would presumably be just four years. According to the NCUA’s Website, each member serves a staggered six-year term, a restriction that dictates the shorter term to replace Hyland.
If Obama intends for Metsger to replace current board member Michael Fryzel, whose term expires Aug. 2, the president will eventually have to also appoint a Republican to join Metsger and current NCUA Board Chairman Debbie Matz, also a Democrat. No more than two board members can be from the same political party, according to the NCUA. However, nothing in the Federal Credit Union Act appears to prevent only two Democrats from serving on the board together if Fryzel’s seat is left vacant.
According to the White House release, Metsger is currently president of the Salem, Ore.-based Parakletos Strategic Public Affairs LLC, a position he has held since 2010.
In addition to serving in the Oregon State Senate from 1999 to 2011, Metsger served on the board of at Portland Teachers CU, rising to the office of vice chairman. Portland Teachers has since been renamed OnPoint Community CU, and has $3.3 billion in assets. Before entering politics, Metsger was a television sports broadcaster.
Metsger has a history of supporting credit union legislation, having sponsored bills in Oregon that would allow credit unions to accept public funds and raise a $100,000 member business loan cap on state-chartered credit unions. The public fund bill was passed in 2010.
In a 2004 Credit Union Times letter to the editor, Metsger warned credit union leaders against resting on their laurels of victories past when confronting banker lobby efforts.
“As one who has worked hard in passing both national and state credit union legislation, I understand all too well that the next battle is just around the corner,” Metsger wrote in reaction to an editorial column by then-Publisher Michael Welch. “The grassroots efforts of the 1990s must not rest in hibernation or we will all pay a very hefty price.”
The Credit Union Association of Oregon named Metsger its Legislator of the Decade at its 2009 annual meeting.
Metsger unsuccessfully ran for Oregon state treasurer in 2010, despite CUAO support and member credit unions campaigning in his favor.
“We congratulate former Oregon state Senator Rick Metsger on his nomination to the NCUA Board. In recent years, the board has had to deal with very difficult issues. The board will need to continue to tackle those issues and more in the coming years.” Fred Becker, NAFCU president/CEO said. “Upon confirmation, we look forward to working with him and the NCUA Board and staff on behalf of our members to promote a positive regulatory environment for credit unions.”
A call to Metsger was not returned.
NCUA Chairman Matz and Board Member Fryzel both issued statements welcoming President Obama’s intent to nominate Metsger to the board.
“Serving on the NCUA Board is a tremendous honor, and I sincerely congratulate Sen. Metsger on his appointment by the Obama administration,” said Matz. “Rick will bring valuable perspectives to the NCUA Board, having served as a volunteer credit union board member as well as a state legislator. I look forward to welcoming Rick as soon as he is seated on the NCUA Board.”
“I extend my sincerest congratulations to Sen. Metsger on his nomination by President Obama,” said Fryzel. “It is an honor and privilege to serve, and I wish him every success in his confirmation process.”
Carla Decker, president/CEO of the $46 million District of Columbia Employees FCU, withdrew her nomination to the NCUA board in February 2012, after former board member James Talbert leaked the credit union’s CAMEL score. Talbert was banned from federally insured credit unions by the NCUA in March 2012 for the disclosure. Decker had been nominated to fill Hyland’s seat.