As Prepared for Delivery.
Thank you very much.
It’s a great pleasure to be here this afternoon.
We’re here to celebrate what promises to be an outstanding step forward for the Destinations Credit Union and for Operation HOPE.
This is also a real step forward for this community and the working families who will benefit from this partnership.
The NCUA regards promoting financial literacy as fundamental to the credit union mission. An educated credit union member is better-equipped to make the choices that lead to greater financial security. So I fully support efforts like the one Destinations and Operation Hope are launching today.
I’d like to take a moment to look at how this institution, and this partnership, fit into the bigger picture; because this is just one part of a much larger story of expanding financial access and opportunity to people and places that need it the most.
It’s a story about expanding opportunity and shared prosperity.
It’s a story about people investing in their own communities, to build something better and stronger.
And most of all, it’s a story about people helping people, to achieve something greater by working together in partnership.
To that end, I am pleased to tell you today that Destinations has just completed the process of becoming designated as a low-income credit union.
This means Destinations will have access to more tools to serve its community:
- It will have an exception to the statutory cap on business lending, which expands access to capital for small businesses and helps credit unions diversify their portfolios;
- It is eligible for grants and loans from the Community Development Revolving Loan Fund; and
- Finally, it will be able to accept non-member deposits from any source and obtain secondary capital.
These are all tools that help credit unions like Destinations provide better services to members and strengthen their local communities.
Destinations is now one of more than 2,500 low-income-designated credit unions across the country. In 1990, there were only 184 of these credit unions in the United States, so their growth has been remarkable.
The reason for this growth is simple: these credit unions work.
They are helping working families in some of the nation’s most underserved communities to improve their financial standing. And, as with the HOPE Inside office right here, they’re constantly striving for new, innovative ways to reach members and give them the higher levels of support they need.
The agency I lead, the National Credit Union Administration, is a regulatory agency, charged with overseeing the nation’s credit union industry. When a lot of people think about regulators and industry oversight, they assume the relationship has to be adversarial. And there is something to that, at least at times.
But I believe that effective oversight also entails looking at what an industry is doing right and recognizing the contributions of the people within that industry who are getting it right. And what we’re seeing here today is a sterling example of people who are getting it right.
Getting it right is something we want to encourage more of in this industry. Whether it’s
- Offering different types of financial products that serve your members more effectively;
- Expanding employment opportunities for those who were convicted of crimes in the past but have paid their debt to society and are seeking a path forward; or
- Providing financial capability counseling that helps families to better their financial position,
These are all examples of ways we can keep this industry moving forward and serving its members more effectively. Those are solutions we should be embracing, one community at a time.
Last month, the NCUA celebrated the 85th anniversary of President Franklin Roosevelt’s signing of the Federal Credit Union Act in 1934.
Today, our credit union system serves more than 117 million members and holds assets of more than $1.5 trillion.
I think if FDR, and all the early leaders who helped to bring the credit union movement to life, could see what’s happening today, they’d be astonished at how far we’ve come.
Moreover, they’d be extremely proud of how closely the industry remains committed to its original vision for a system of cooperative credit that is responsive to local needs.
What we’re seeing here today is one more link in that long historical chain. But my great hope and expectation is that this partnership will prosper and thrive by holding tightly to that core value of “people helping people.”
Thank you so much for all you’re doing for your members and for this community—and more importantly, all you will do in the years to come.