One year ago, when I became the NCUA Board Chairman, I stated that I would prioritize open engagement and seek win-win compromises whenever practicable. Negotiating in good faith — with an open mind and open communications — was how I would lead our agency.
With that guiding principle, my fellow Board members and I reached a consensus on several important matters during the past year. For example, we permitted federal credit unions to purchase mortgage servicing assets, and we modified the definition of a credit union service facility. We also reached an agreement on creating a simplified measure of capital adequacy for complex credit unions, thus allowing the agency’s 2015 risk-based capital regulation to take effect at the start of this year.
Additionally, we adopted final rules to allow for the capitalization of interest and to add the “S” component to the CAMEL rating system. And, the Board swiftly amended our subordinated debt rules, so eligible credit unions could receive and utilize the funding from the U.S. Treasury’s Emergency Capital Investment Program to support local businesses, low-income households, and underserved communities. Together, each of these and many other regulatory actions will go a long way to protecting and aiding credit union members in need, providing new avenues for growth, and strengthening the overall stability of the credit union system.
What is more, the Board reached a unanimous agreement on a two-year budget to fund the agency’s activities in 2022 and 2023. This budget represents common ground on the important goals of protecting credit union members, maintaining the safety and soundness of the credit union system, and safeguarding the Share Insurance Fund, while at the same time growing the budget slower than the rate of inflation and rebating excess funds to credit unions.
And, after many years of planning and development and months of training in a remote posture, we implemented MERIT, the NCUA’s new web-based examination platform. MERIT streamlines the examination process for credit unions and examiners and offers examiners robust financial analytics for in-depth analysis.
These are just a few of the NCUA’s many accomplishments in 2021, and we couldn’t have achieved them without your hard work and your commitment to doing what is right for the credit union system and its members.
Going forward, I will continue to keep your health, safety, and well-being front and center in my mind as we, together, navigate the future of work and virtual exams. The agency will also continue to respond to the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic to protect consumers, navigate the economic fallout for credit unions, and ensure the Share Insurance Fund remains strong. And, we will further our efforts to improve our consumer financial protection and fair lending programs, while also advancing economic equity and justice within the credit union system.
Finally, the part of my job that I have enjoyed the most this past year has been working with all of you, each and every day. I have especially appreciated my weekly check-ins with many of you about your promotions, years of service milestones, and actions meriting special recognition.
You have dedicated yourself to truly admirable work — work made much more challenging by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. I am consistently amazed by how you support the agency’s mission of providing a safe, sound, and equitable credit union system for nearly 130 million Americans. In short, I am deeply honored and very proud to lead you, the talented and dedicated public servants who make up this incredible agency!
Thank you again for all of your work in contributing to our many successes during 2021 and for the many achievements yet to come in 2022. I look forward to continuing this good work into this New Year.
Be safe, be well, and be kind. Thank you!