Bacino: Bring Back Budget Hearings
Former NCUA Board Member Geoff Bacino told CU Times the NCUA should bring back budget hearings.
“It allowed for the agency to explain the process it went through and it gave the stakeholders a chance to voice their opinions,” Bacino said.
During the Nov. 20 NCUA Board meeting, NCUA Board Member Mark McWatters suggested the agency hold budget hearings.
NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz told CU Times after the meeting that having budget hearings where trade groups could question the agency previously resulted in regulatory capture.
“We had hearings on the budget. We reduced FTEs by a total of 71 in a five year period of time from 2003 to 2008 and when I came on in 2009, the industry was on the verge of collapse and we didn’t have the resources that we needed in order to protect the industry so we were playing catch up,” Matz said.
In response, McWatters said trade associations currently meet with board members privately.
“We are using other people’s money. It seems fair. It seems reasonable for people to look at the budget and come and present their thoughts on the budget to us in an open meeting. Trade associations meet with members of the board all of the time,” McWatters said in a video interview after the meeting.
Bacino, who was recess-appointed to the board by President Clinton in 2000, said budget hearings do not compromise board members’ objectively on the operating budget and industry issues.
“It gave us the views of the people we were regulating and in my time on two regulatory boards, I never found that to be a problem. I found that to be a benefit in terms of understanding what was going on in the industry of which I regulated,” Bacino said.