President Obama has announced his intent to nominate Debbie Matz for a return trip to the NCUA Board. Matz, who is certainly not “old,” always provided thoughtful insight to everything the board considered during her tenure, and at a time like this, her background in economics should be useful. Her interests while on the board the first time around, in addition to basic safety and soundness, included supporting low-income credit unions and credit union services to low-income people. She backed that up after she left the NCUA Board at the end of her term to serve as chief operating officer of Andrews FCU.Also while at the NCUA, Matz led what was arguably one of the most popular movements by the NCUA in its history: Partnering and Leadership Successes. PALS was applauded by many as partnership and collaboration are crucial to credit unions’ ability to compete.More than a year of her first term was spent serving on the board with then-NCUA Chairman and Republican JoAnn Johnson and a third, empty seat with no one to break the gridlock. Now, potentially as chairman and working with a Democratic majority on the board with NCUA Board Member Gigi Hyland, credit unions can expect to see a lot more of what Matz can and wants to accomplish going forward.For her part, Hyland is hosting a 75th anniversary event June 9-10 in Washington, D.C. for federal credit unions. The event could have been a pat-on-the-back-type event, but looking at the agenda, it’s more of a reminder not to rest on your laurels; it’s more of a ‘what’s next?’ Hyland explained that we know more regulation is coming and that there will be some type of restructuring, but credit unions need to study the situation to determine how it will affect their future and how to ensure sustainability. Panels during the event will cover everything from the relevance of the cooperative model, the future of the corporates, supplemental capital, and collaboration and innovation, such as GTE FCU CEO Bucky Sebastian’s hybrid charter.On a smaller-and certainly more personal-scale, she acknowledged that the problems of the corporate credit union system have stirred a lot of introspection for her. As a regulator, she’s looking at how to avoid the problem in the future and balancing the wide range of comments the agency received regarding a corporate restructuring plan.Assuming Matz is confirmed as the NCUA Board chair, that also means that NCUA Vice Chairman Rodney Hood, whose term expired in April of this year, will be leaving the board. When he came on board, the credit union community kept a watchful eye on the former banker. Alas, Hood had been a CRA officer at Bank of America and national director of emerging markets for Wells Fargo, but he realized that credit unions do good work, and he knew they didn’t want or need CRA. Coincidentally, Hood came to the NCUA from the USDA, as Matz did.The thing I recall most from Hood’s time on the NCUA Board has been his Blueprint 20/20 initiative to get more young people interested in credit unions, whether through employment, volunteering or active membership. The plan called for a group of college-associated credit unions, school representatives and Ben Rogers of Filene to make recommendations for credit unions to foster internships, participate in career fairs and establish curricula for students to earn credit while interning. The group stated that credit unions would have to put a formal plan in place for the most success. Read the findings at, current NCUA Chairman Michael Fryzel will be able to stay on the board through August 2013, but he will no longer serve as chairman and will be in the minority. He came in at a difficult time, July 29, 2008 to be exact, in credit unions’ history, particularly for corporate credit unions. While he had previously served as the top financial institution regulator in the state of Illinois and has spent much of his career in financial services, he could not have envisioned what he was about to take on. He came into the agency acting decisively, which was important after a period of what some characterized as weak leadership. Of course there’s room for criticism of the actions taken as reasonable people can disagree or how they were handled, but plans were made and steps were taken.The possible future board make-up of two Democrats who truly understand credit union operations and Fryzel will help to mitigate the ever-present unintended consequences of the consumer-activist Congress.–Comments? E-mail [email protected]

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