NCUA Chairman Todd Harper held a webinar on February 11th to outline his priorities for the agency. Harper is the twelfth Chairman of the NCUA, and has over 20 years of credit union policy experience having worked for the NCUA under Chairman Debbie Matz and for years on Capitol Hill which included serving as senior legislative assistant for Congressman Paul Kanjorski (D-PA).
He began by saying that he looks forward to leading the agency to “respond to the economic fallout created by the pandemic, position the agency for future challenges, and strengthen our commitment to consumer financial protection.” He said the credit union system sits at the intersection of several crossroads including many of the largest credit unions continue to grow rapidly while many smaller credit unions continue to struggle with earnings. He advocated that as the pandemic continues, we must address the economic fallout for all credit unions large and small.
Chairman Harper said when he became Chairman, he set several priorities for the agency which include capital and liquidity, consumer financial protection, cyber security, and diversity equity and economic inclusion. These priorities will guide the agency in the months ahead according to the Chairman. He also provided his regulatory philosophy, his north star, which he said can be summed up with the acronym “fire”.
F – fair and forward looking as an agency.
I – innovative, inclusive and independent.
R – risk focused and ready to act expeditiously when necessary.
E – engaged with all stakeholders.
He expressed his appreciation for state supervisors and the work that they do to ensure the safety and soundness of the system as well as strong support for the dual chartering system.
He said credit unions must continue to live up to their mission of providing access to credit and savings including to those members of modest means. The NCUA must do all that it can to advance economic equity and justice including providing greater support for minority depository institutions, low-income credit unions, and community development credit unions. He said we must ensure compliance with fair lending laws, help to close the wealth gap, and must consider future challenges “like climate change which dis-proportionally affect under-served communities”.