Metsger Expects Stability at NCUA as Trump Takes Office
As the NCUA board prepares for its last meeting during the Obama Administration, Chairman Rick Metsger said Thursday he does not expect any great change in policy direction in the near future.
The NCUA board meets Jan. 19 and has two items on its agenda – an advanced notice of rulemaking dealing with alternative capital and a briefing on inflation adjustment of civil money penalties.
As he takes office, President-elect Donald Trump may designate a board member belonging to his own party as chairman. The board currently has two members – Metsger and Republican J. Mark McWatters, a Republican. The board has a vacancy and speculation has centered on McWatters becoming chairman after Trump is sworn in.
“I don’t envision any major policy change as far as the board goes in the near future,” Metsger said at the Western States Summit Roundtable, according to a transcript of his remarks.
Metsger said he and McWatters have developed a strong working relationship and he expects for that to continue.
“It still takes two to tango, and regardless of who has the gavel, our commitment to working together on behalf of a sound and progressive credit union system remains the same,” he said.
At the Jan. 19 meeting, the board will consider soliciting comments on alternative capital before issuing proposed rules. The proposal would govern both secondary capital and supplemental capital; the board has been considering the issue for quite some time.
In late 2014, then-Chairman Debbie Matz announced a working group on supplemental capital.
The board adopted a risk-based capital final rule in October 2015, but delayed action on supplemental capital. At its October 2016 meeting, the board received a staff briefing on supplemental capital. NCUA staff members said at the time that including supplemental capital in the calculation for the risk-based capital rules poses legal and regulatory questions for federally-insured credit unions.
In his Thursday discussion, Metsger said that as the credit union system consolidates, the NCUA must respond. He said, for example, he has asked NCUA staff to evaluate whether the office space for NCUA Region II are still needed, since they are located in Alexandria, Va. – the same city as the NCUA’s headquarters.
Metsger also said that in the coming months, the NCUA will unveil a new web-based tracking tool that will allow credit unions to monitor the status of field of membership applications.
He also questioned whether a five-region NCUA structure and a separate Office of National Examinations and Supervision for the largest credit unions are still needed.
“Are all five current regions needed if an increasing proportion of credit union assets are supervised and examined by the Office of National Examinations and Supervision?” he asked. “Would a four- or even three-region network design be more efficient and effective in the coming years?”
Metsger also said that the NCUA must remain adaptable to ensure that non-traditional, web-based service providers are held to the same consumer protection standards as traditional service providers.