ALEXANDRIA, Va.-NCUA Vice Chairman Rodney Hood admitted he feelsa rush from waiting until Dec. 23 to start his holiday shopping,but there is nothing last minute about his background in financialservices. Throughout his broad career, Hood has found success inthe power of partnerships, something he plans to encourage creditunions to do during his time on the board. He first entered thecommunity development arena at a North Carolina bank that has sincebeen acquired by Bank of America. He worked with church groups andothers to help provide small business lending to those havingdifficulty accessing capital. “I did a lot of training on creditrepair. I wrote out a curriculum for business lending 101 and formortgage lending,” he recalled. As he progressed through hisprofessional journey, Hood continued his outreach work with WellsFargo, where he worked with the Neighborhood ReinvestmentCoalition, the National Council of LaRaza, and Habitat for Humanityto ensure the company was providing affordable housingopportunities in the target markets. Hood then went to NorthCarolina Mutual, the state's oldest and largest black-ownedinsurance company, headquartered in Durham. Even the insuranceindustry was looking to make gains in emerging markets, he pointedout. As the associate administrator of the Rural Housing Service atthe US Department of Agriculture, a political appointment, hisoffice partnered with other federal agencies, including NCUA, toexpand its homeownership efforts. NCUA signed a Memorandum ofUnderstanding with USDA in 2002 to promote homeownership; Hoodaddressed an Access Across America meeting in February 2004 onhousing opportunities with USDA. Though he has made the move toNCUA, Hood is still anxious for USDA to use its loan guarantees tothe full potential and credit unions should take advantage. USDAprovides loan guarantees up to 80% for mortgages to low- tomoderate-income households in rural areas. The department alsoprovides grants of up to $6,500 to seniors for home repairs. “AsI'm out giving presentations and talks, I will let the credit unionindustry know how they can work with USDA guarantees,” he said, aswell as others. For Hood, as a regulator, safety and soundness is“paramount,” and so he said he would continue to “look at ways tomitigate risk,” including these loan guarantees. Even the banks arepotential partners in credit unions' efforts to expandhomeownership, he added, explaining that a number of lendingconsortia exist where credit unions and banks can work together.Having worked in community development departments at a couple ofbanks and now learning about credit unions, Hood said he can seethe differences in the attitudes toward community development.“There is a difference in seeing credit union community developmentwork is at the core of why credit unions exist,” Hood said, notingthat those of modest means are the people credit unions werecreated for. “They are doing it because they want to and that's thevery reason they were chartered.” He observed that the credit unionpeople he has met thus far are “passionate” and “want to leave anindelible mark on people's lives.” Hood began his term with a`listening tour' in Mississippi with the Mississippi Credit UnionAssociation. He met with officials from Hope Community Credit Unionas well as the league's Pine Burr Chapter, where he attracted about100 attendees. Some banks may be doing their community developmentwork out of altruism but also because they have to. “At the end ofthe day, I just want people who want to have access to credit tohave it,” Hood stated. Credit unions are serving families of modestmeans and continue to deserve their tax-exemption, he added. “Ofcourse they are. As we look at the homeownership rates, they'vegone up exponentially,” the vice chairman said. He said he isconvinced that credit unions have been a part of that. Hood said hehopes that NCUA will be able to come up with a better way oftracking service to the underserved “without taking their eye offthe ball.” He pointed to an example from his trip to Mississippi.An elderly woman had fallen victim to the vicious cycle of paydaylending to the point nearly all her Social Security check, about$600, was going to pay off six different accounts. A credit unioncame to her aid by wrapping up the six accounts in one loan andcutting her payments to about $200 a month. “I hope we can continueto track those kind of success stories,” Hood commented. As NCUAand credit unions try to move toward this transparency, he said itis important that lawmakers know “the great things we're doing toreach the underserved and that we want to hear from them.” If theHouse Ways and Means Committee and others are not educated on thecredit union difference, the tax-exemption could be at stake.“Taxing would fundamentally change the scope of credit unions, itwould so change their mission, it would prevent them from offeringthe lower-cost services to their members,” he said. While the vicechairman expects to be incredibly busy listening to credit unions'concerns, he still hopes to find time to focus on a myriad ofactivities. His loves include fly fishing and shooting clays andtargets. Hood is big into golf and tennis. Music has always been animportant part of his life. He learned to play the piano andtrumpet growing up. Hood is currently working on his first book,Voices Unheard, on African-American opera singers who went to workin Europe because they were prevented by segregation from workingin America. The bachelor also enjoys travel, which he does nearlyevery weekend from Washington, D.C. to his home in North Carolinaand back. Some of his favorite places are the beach right out sideof Wilmington and the mountains of North Carolina. He also likesinternational travel, naming Venice as his first [email protected]

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