The day after their third member was confirmed by the Senate, the NCUA Board was out talking to industry groups on diverse topics.
Speaking Friday before the African-American Credit Union Coalition’s annual conference in Detroit, NCUA Board Chair Debbie Matz said minority credit unions are essential to fostering economic diversity and opportunity in communities across America, particularly low-income and underserved communities.
Matz also reiterated the NCUA’s commitment to supporting greater diversity in its own workforce and in credit unions throughout the nation.
“Minority credit unions perform an extremely important function,” Matz said. “They are often the only insured institutions serving low-income and underserved areas. Your being there—making loans to small businesses so they can provide jobs and offering loans so your members can buy a car or a home or send a child to college—has helped hard-working families in those communities pave a path towards financial security.”
Matz also reported on NCUA’s efforts to promote diversity, including:
- Increased diversity of its workforce at all levels.
- Significant expansion of the percentage of contracts and the size of contracts awarded to minority- and women-owned businesses.
- Creation of the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion and a robust strategic plan, updated annually.
- A proposed Minority Credit Union Preservation Program.
“It’s very important to preserve, to the extent we can, both the special character and the number of minority credit unions serving their communities, especially in underserved communities,” Matz noted. “The policy proposed at our July Board meeting will align NCUA with federal law and the programs of other federal regulators to preserve minority depository institutions.”
She said the NCUA Board also has issued for public comment a proposed Interpretive Ruling and Policy Statement providing the basis for creating a Minority Depository Institution Preservation Program. The program’s objectives would include:
- Preserving current minority credit unions and encouraging new ones;
- Providing technical assistance, training and educational programs; and
- Preserving the minority character of the credit unions in cases of merger or acquisition.
Matz concluded by noting that 92% of minority credit unions are either small credit unions, with assets below $50 million, or have a low-income credit union designation. They are therefore eligible to assistance from the agency’s Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives, including free consulting services and access to grants and low-interest loans from the Community Development Revolving Loan Fund.
Meanwhile, in Boston NCUA Board Member Michael Fryzel provided an update Friday about the agency’s priorities and the current environment for more than 200 credit union league presidents, chairmen and government affairs professionals,
During his remarks before the American Association of Credit Union Leagues’ 2013 summer meeting, the agency said, Fryzel spoke about:
- Corporate credit unions and the restructuring of the NCUA’s Office of Corporate Credit Unions to the Office of National Examinations and Supervision.
- Natural person credit unions, the overall economy and the challenges that lie ahead.
- Pending and proposed rules, NCUA staff changes and the NCUA regional realignment.
- Pending federal legislation that could affect credit unions.
- The future of credit unions.
Fryzel highlighted the important role credit union leagues play in the credit union industry and urged the leagues to keep working hard to meet the needs of their member credit unions.
“Credit union leagues continue to play a vital role in the credit union industry,” he said. “I encourage you to continue to strive to ensure that your member credit unions receive first-class information, education and training to, in turn, better serve their members.”