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WASHINGTON – During panel discussions at the National Cooperative Business Associations Cooperative Conference last week, NCUA Vice Chair JoAnn Johnson outlined the recently approved disclosure requirements credit unions have to follow when converting to a mutual savings bank and highlighted the successes of Access Across America. During the panel on cooperative conversions, Johnson said leaders of the financial cooperative movement have an “ethical and fiduciary responsible to be straight forward, open and transparent with all decisions affecting its membership, charter, and structure.” While 25 of nearly 10,000 credit unions do not represent a trend, “a trend may be found in the conversion from a thrift to a stockholder-owned bank,” Johnson said. “As owners of the credit union, members have the right to vote to convert and change their structure. Our focus is to make certain that members are well informed and aware of the consequences of a conversion.” She also expressed interest in a proposal that would include confidential balloting and independent third-party tabulations of votes. Vice Chair Johnson discussed how NCUA has become more widely recognized among its federal partners through its Access Across America initiative in the panel on coordinated federal cooperative policy. Credit unions are forging key partnerships with The White House, Department of Agriculture-Rural Housing Service and Cooperative Business Service, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Treasury, and the Small Business Administration. “We encourage more credit unions to explore one of the most-overlooked aspects of the NCUA’s Access Across America initiative, which are the partnership opportunities it encourages with these governmental programs, including loan and grant programs,” Johnson explained. “Serving people from all walks of life is an important part of the credit union community and the success stories are many. At NCUA, we must continue to be the agency of opportunity and access, which makes those success stories possible. We want to facilitate greater credit union access in every way that the law allows when it is built upon the solid foundation of safety and soundness.” Fellow panelists on federal coordination included Allen Jones, Special Assistant for Cooperative Housing at the Department of Housing and Urban Development; Tom Dorr, Special Assistant for Rural Development at the Department of Agriculture; and Tom Carter, Cooperative Coordinator for the U.S. Agency for International Development. Paul Hazen, NCBA’s President and CEO moderated the session. Johnson joined panelists E.G. Nadeau, Cooperative Development Services and Martin Lowery, Executive Vice President of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association for the panel on conversions. Steve Krikava of Land O’Lakes, Inc. moderated the panel. [email protected]

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