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<p>WASHINGTON – New NCUA Board members JoAnn Johnson and Deborah Matz each highlighted their links and histories with credit unions in making their inaugural speeches to CUNA’s 2002 GAC. Matz is a member in three credit unions and has a financial analysis background, and credit unions were instrumental in launching Johnson’s political career. Matz’ background included chairing a “task force at the US Department of Agriculture charged with resolving troubled agricultural loans of over $1 million. When the task force got underway they faced over $1 billion in troubled loans, she said, but, by the time its work was done, the task force had resolved every one of the loans that was not in litigation or bankruptcy proceedings. The experience, Matz said, “taught me the importance of due diligence in lending as well as the tragedy that can take place when people cannot repay their loans.” Matz said she comes to the NCUA Board with a “tremendous respect for and affinity” for the credit union movement. “I strongly identify with the ideal of helping working people and others who are being ignored by traditional financial institutions,” she said. Matz signaled however that she will bring a “pair of fresh eyes” to credit union issues and may not always agree with credit unions. “I realize the value and necessity of regulation that is sensitive to the needs of those being regulated,” Matz said. “I clearly understand credit unions need to have a wide degree of autonomy and discretion, but with that they must be accountable for their actions,” she said. Johnson credited Iowa credit unions with starting her political career, offering a wealth of encouragement, advice and many volunteers. Iowa credit unions had targeted her race as a race of opportunity since her opponent for the State senate slot sat on a bank’s board of directors, she said. Johnson said that during her term at NCUA she would stress the wise use of resources by the agency. “Chairman Dollar has already set a course on this subject that is likely to find favor with me,” Johnson said. “I want to make sure NCUA’s core duties are done extremely well. Maintaining a robust share insurance fund and an effective supervision program are critical elements to an independent credit union movement,” she said.</p>

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