ALEXANDRIA, Va.-NCUA Chairman Dennis Dollar, particularly proud to be a Republican after last week’s election, was happy for his friend Mississippi Senator Trent Lott (R), majority leader-elect, and for the Republican Party in its coup d’tat of the U.S. Senate. At press time, Republicans held at least 51 seats in the Senate, with a seat in South Dakota and Louisiana still up in the air, but likely to go to the Democratic candidates. “Personally, as a Republican, I’m very pleased with the results of last night’s election,” Dollar said last week. “My good friend Senator Trent Lott will return to the majority leader position, which is something that is very positive, I think, for not only myself as one that he recommended for the position I am in, but by virtue of the fact that he is a good friend of credit unions and has been a supporter of the agency. I think that’s certainly a positive development.” However, as chairman of the NCUA, regulating a strongly bipartisan industry, he had an interest in certain Democrats holding their seats as well. “I was, last night, as interested in following the races of credit union friends who are Democrats as I was Republicans,” he told Credit Union Times the day after elections. “From the agency’s perspective, and from my perspective as chairman of the agency, we want to work with credit union supporters and believers in the difference that safe and sound credit unions can make in the financial lives of their members, from whichever party they come from. Last night I was as pleased to see [Congressman] Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) reelected, as I was to see [Congressman] Jim Leach (R-Iowa) reelected. Both of them are good, long-time credit union supporters. They’re from different political parties, but they have always been supportive of what we are doing here.” Overall, he said it was a good evening for credit unions, NCUA, and himself. As for the gridlock of the 107th Congress, Dollar said, the new make-up will demonstrate a tremendous difference. “There’s no question that it will improve the president’s position in relation to the Congress, because he will no longer be dealing with a divided Congress,” he commented, adding that it did not mean President George W. Bush would get everything he wants. Credit unions could be the recipients of some of the Republicans good fortune and hard work, Dollar explained. “From credit unions point of view, I think there is some particular significance to the election results. I think it increases the possibility of the passage of the bankruptcy reform bill and a regulatory relief bill,” he said. “Both of those had more momentum in the House than they did in the Senate and I think that this will improve the likelihood of those two bills being passed in the foreseeable future.” He added that it also reduces the likelihood of a major effort to tax credit unions because Republicans are not big on new taxes or the application of CRA on credit unions. Credit unions should also reap benefits from Bush’s community and faith-based initiatives, now that it is more likely they will be passed in the 108th Congress. “As the president pushes his community and faith-based initiative it is possible that there might actually be some of the programs that are made available for faith-based institutions that could bring faith-based credit unions into the eligibility fold. In other words, if there are new initiatives that are put in place for faith-based institutions, as a result of the president’s bill getting passed by this new Congress, then it is possible faith-based credit unions might be made eligible for some of those programs,” Dollar said. He emphasized the agency’s efforts to inform the White House about Access Across America, which ties in closely, and said the administration is impressed with its successes. “We’re encouraging the White House to consider the role that faith-based credit unions can play in the president’s initiative,” Dollar explained. “I have met with officials at the White House and particularly from the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives on several occasions…” With Republicans taking control of the Senate, Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) is expected to be the next Senate Banking Committee Chairman with Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.) as ranking member. Both Shelby and Sarbanes are ardent supporters of privacy rights, which could bring about legislative movement on the subject. Dollar said he has great respect for both men and the agency is willing to work with them. He pointed out that Shelby is with credit unions on some levels, like his opposition to CRA and his consideration of introducing a regulatory relief bill to mirror H.R. 3951, which included items put forth by NCUA. As for his own career, Dollar acknowledged that his time at NCUA is drawing to a close with his term ending April 10, 2003. When asked about staying on at NCUA or making a career move within the administration, with friend Lott to help him out, Dollar said, “I’ve got so much going on right now that I haven’t stopped and given a whole lot of thought to that,” he said referring to NCUA’s field of membership review, Prompt Corrective Action revisions, and the 2003 budget, among other things. “Once April rolls around, I will test the waters with the White House and find out what their thoughts are. If they are interested in me staying for a while, I’m certainly willing to continue to serve at the White House’s request. If they have someone else that they would like to put into this position, then I am more than willing to cooperate with them in anyway.” He said he would not lobby to stay beyond his six-year term, calling it inappropriate and unfair to the next appointee. Dollar added that Bush has political considerations to weigh, as it will be easier to replace him with the Republicans in control of the Senate. [email protected]

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