As Prepared for Delivery on October 15, 2020
We are now in our seventh month of a remote work posture. Over the course of COVID-19 pandemic, the NCUA has taken prudent and meaningful measures to provide guidance and regulatory relief to the credit union industry and the more than 122 million member-owners they serve. The safety of our employees, credit union members, and credit union staff remain our top priority.
Where possible, we have been proactive in our approach to COVID relief – from our resource and contingency planning to the CARES Act provisions, including changes to the central liquidity facility. However, I think it is important to note that we are in the eye of the hurricane right now. It is virtually impossible for us to predict the full economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We don’t know what the credit loss impact will be, but we are being vigilant. We have taken many sound steps to plan for the economic fallout and dedicated significant staff time and resources to this.
I am pleased to say that nearly every rule the NCUA Board has considered in recent months has been related to COVID relief. Additionally, we have issued 26 pieces of guidance and advanced several rulemakings - all with the intent to give credit unions the flexibility they need to continue serving their members during this trying time.
We are committed to keeping our communication channels open. I am pleased to share that since the start of COVID-19 pandemic, traffic to the NCUA’s public websites increased significantly, with double-digit increases in the number of visitors to both NCUA.gov and MyCreditUnion.gov. That pattern has continued into the fall. We remain up nearly 17 percent in users and more than 13 percent in sessions compared to this time last year on NCUA.gov. MyCreditUnion.gov is also up as well —13 percent in both categories respectively.
I have made it clear that NCUA is open for business. Throughout the duration of the pandemic, we have listened to feedback and suggestions from the industry. In fact, I am in constant communication with credit union leaders, many of whom tell me how the guidance and rulemakings are giving them the flexibility they need to help their members.
In addition to our regular communication with credit union leaders, we have made it a priority to let Congress know the tools we need in the toolbox during the pandemic. Earlier this year, I sent a letter to the Senate Banking Chairman Crapo identifying statutory changes that would benefit credit unions and their member-owners amid COVID-19.
Following that letter, an industry stakeholder wrote, “The recommendations in your letter to Chairman Crapo are vitally important to credit unions. Ensuring continued viability of the Central Liquidity Facility, flexibility in the prompt corrective action framework, raising the member business lending cap, permanently expanding credit union reach for underserved areas, and the various other recommendations that you provided are all crucial to the success of credit unions, especially in the current times.”
I am proud of what this agency and our employees have accomplished, and we will remain vigilant as the fallout from the pandemic becomes more acute in the months ahead.
Again, my fundamental message is this: The NCUA is open for business, and we will stay open for business for the duration of the pandemic emergency. While our COVID-19 response efforts are a top priority and we have dedicated extensive time and resources to those response efforts, we remain open for business and focusing on mission critical work of protecting the safety and soundness of the credit unions industry and the Share Insurance Fund.