Sources: Trump Unlikely to Fill NCUA Board Slots for Months
President Trump is unlikely to send the Senate his two choices to fill vacancies on the NCUA board until late fall at the earliest, according to sources in Washington and the credit union community.
Those sources said the White House has not started interviewing potential candidates. They said when the nominees are selected—one Republican and one Democrat—they probably will be sent to the Senate together.
Pairing the two nominees could smooth the confirmation process, they said.
“They provide political cover for each other when paired, as is almost certain to happen," said former NCUA Board Chairman Dennis Dollar.
Trump will have two nominees because the term of board member Rick Metsger expired on Aug. 2. Metsger can continue to serve on the board until his replacement is confirmed.
In a statement to CU Times, Metsger said, “I look forward to continuing my work with the Chairman on a number of important issues, like closure of the Stabilization Fund, agency reorganization, and the upcoming budget, and have no plan to leave before a successor is confirmed, especially if my departure would leave the Board without a quorum to legally enact the numerous regulatory relief revisions we currently have in the queue.”
Under law, only two of the three members of the NCUA board can be of the same political party as the president. J. Mark McWatters, the board member Trump selected as NCUA chairman, is a Republican.
The nomination and confirmation processes have been extremely slow during the Trump Administration.
And the nomination/confirmation process has been particularly long at financial agencies, the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington-based think tank reported earlier this year.
“The average length of the nominations process for independent financial regulators has more than tripled since the latter half of the 1980s, resulting in frequent and long-lasting vacancies at these agencies,” the think tank said in a report.
And as is the case with most administration posts, there has been jockeying among the various interest grounds for their preferred candidates.
"Nominations have been slower than usual in this White House for a first year of an administration.,” Dollar said. “However, I expect a nomination for both the Republican slot and the Democrat slot on the NCUA Board by the end of the year.”
Sources, several of whom requested anonymity, described the state of the nomination process.
The process began during the transition, when candidates who were interested in serving on the board sent their names to the administration. While the names of those individuals were not available, they included a former board member, current and former credit union CEOs and state regulators.
Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is believed to have submitted a list of three possible Democratic choices, one source said. Schumer’s office did not respond to a request for comment, but senators often submit such a list.
The administration has contacted some of those interested to begin the review process, a Washington source said. The source said that Trump will nominate a Republican to fill Metsger’s seat and a Democrat to fill the seat vacated last year by Debbie Matz.
That way, the Republican choice will be able to serve a six-year term, while the Democrat will serve the four years remaining on Matz’s term.
Dollar said he has been contacted by five Republicans and two Democrats to discuss their interest in the seats.
He declined to name those people.
“There is no lack of interest in the position,” Dollar said. “The question is which candidates have the political contacts and support to make it happen. It truly comes down to who you know to carry your name and credentials forward through the cumbersome political process of White House nomination and Senate confirmation.”
"To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, there are a few knowns, and a lot unknowns in any nomination process, particularly this one,” said John McKecnhie, senior partner at Total Spectrum.