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ALEXANDRIA, Va.-Who says less is more? With regard to the cap on NCUA Board members at one with direct credit union experience, past and present NCUA Board members generally feel they should not be limited. A Credit Union Times voting poll (see page 4) recently found that more than half (51.35%) of the credit union industry feels, ideally, that all three should have credit union experience. “I don’t think there should be a limit,” former NCUA Board Member Geoff Bacino said, adding, “There should be at least one.” That being said though, he did note history and how the Federal Home Loan Bank Board was “notoriously tight with the thrift industry.” Bacino made the analogy, “There should be a creative tension, like between a movie star and a director.” However, he said that he has been impressed with the two current NCUA Board members who did not come to the board from the credit union industry. Current NCUA Board Member Debbie Matz stated, “That’s a question better left to Congress.” She quipped, “I think the board is fine. Of course I’m on it. I think it’s perfect.” Joking aside, Matz admitted, “Someone from the credit union industry has helped the board in the past.” When she first came to the board, she served with former NCUA Chairman Dennis Dollar, who had been president and CEO of Gulfport VA Federal Credit Union in Mississippi. For his part, Dollar said, “Ideally, I think that all the NCUA Board membership should have credit union experience or at a minimum the majority of the board.” If the same restriction were placed on the FDIC Board members, the banking industry “would hit the ceiling.” “My position may sound self-serving.I was much more effective as a regulator because of my perspective of working under the NCUA regulations,” Dollar commented. He added, “While the statute says no more than one.I think it’s reasonable to expect there’d be at least one.” Current NCUA Board nominee Rodney Hood does not have a credit union background, just as neither did NCUA Chairman JoAnn Johnson and Matz. However, Matz’s term is coming up in August and, right now, sources say Empire Corporate General Counsel GiGi Hyland is the front runner for the seat. Chairman Johnson also raised the point about the FDIC. “The FDIC doesn’t have a requirement limiting to one banker on the board so I don’t think NCUA should be limited either.” Johnson, a former schoolteacher and state legislator, said. In defense of those without the background, she said, “Philosophy and hard work make up for lack of experience.” Former NCUA Chairman Ed Callahan came to the board as the former director of the Illinois Department of Financial Institutions. “Clearly, I think there should be a minimum of one, for sure. I don’t see a problem, personally, if there were two or three.” California Credit Union League President and CEO Dave Chatfield, a former NCUA Board member who had a strong credit union background, said, “I think it ought to be the best people available. I think there should be no restrictions.” He criticized the cap as limiting the field of the best potential candidates and also pointed out that the other banking regulators are not restricted in this way. -

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