<p>By SARAH SNELL COOKE CU Times Washington Reporter WASHINGTON-In the roller coaster ride that is Washington politics, President George W. Bush made two recess appointments to fill the open slots on the NCUA Board the day Congress returned to work. Iowa State Senator JoAnn Johnson and United Nations Official Deborah Matz have received recess appointments to the two open seats on the NCUA Board. The Senate received Johnson's nomination November 27 of last year, while Bush announced his intent to nominate Matz January 4. Both will serve only until the end of this Congress unless confirmed by the Senate, which NCUA officials expect will occur early this year. "The NCUA Board is now solidified with the addition of these two outstanding Board Members. I am very appreciative of the president for giving NCUA priority during the recess appointment process. He has selected two high-quality individuals to serve in his administration," NCUA Chairman Dennis Dollar said in a statement. "I look forward to welcoming JoAnn Johnson and Deborah Matz as we enter a new era at the NCUA. As 2002 presents many opportunities and challenges for the NCUA Board and those we regulate and insure, I believe this new board can maintain this agency's historical commitment to safety and soundness, even as we better enable America's credit unions to serve their members with innovation and a forward-thinking focus. Through such a balanced regulatory approach, the new board is poised to serve in an even greater role as the nation's credit unions continue to grow and serve folks from all walks of life, providing access to much needed low-cost financial services." Credit union trade associations appear to approve of the administration's choices for the open seats as well. "Congratulations to Sen. Johnson and Ms. Matz on their appointments to the NCUA Board by President Bush. This year has the potential for being a very full one. A full panel for the board promises to be very helpful to NCUA and the credit union community as the agency deals with the year's challenges. We welcome Sen. Johnson and Ms. Matz, and look forward to working with both in their new roles," CUNA President and CEO Dan Mica said. NAFCU President and CEO Fred Becker added, "We are delighted that the NCUA Board is once again up to full strength, and we look forward to working with both JoAnn Johnson and Deborah Matz. From the days of the Bush transition team, NAFCU has emphasized to the administration the importance of filling NCUA Board seats as they come open, so we were very glad to see the administration quickly fill these vacancies." Johnson and Matz both declined to speak to the press. However, Johnson and Matz were both sworn in and working at NCUA headquarters January 23. An NCUA press release quoted Johnson, saying, "I am honored that President Bush has selected me to serve on the NCUA Board. I consider this appointment a privilege and intend to exercise my board responsibilities judiciously and to the utmost of my abilities ensure that credit unions continue their long history of financial stability and access for millions of Americans." Matz said, "This is a wonderful opportunity and important responsibility at the same time. Selected by President Bush to serve, I look forward to contributing to the success of this agency, and as a member of the NCUA Board I will diligently work to ensure that credit unions remain the safe, sound financial institutions they are today." Johnson is an Iowa State Senator, serving since 1994. She is currently the chair of the Senate Commerce Committee and served as chair of the Ways and Means Committee from 1996 to 2000. She is a former teacher and farmer. An Iowa native, she is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa. Johnson is the daughter-in-law of former NCUA executive Don Johnson. Matz is the executive officer of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. From 1997 to 2001, she served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration at the Department of Agriculture. Matz holds a bachelor's degree from Cornell University and a master's from George Washington University. [email protected]</p>

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