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NCUA Chairman Todd M. Harper Statement about the NCUA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program Update

April 2022
NCUA Chairman Todd M. Harper Statement about the NCUA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program Update
Todd M. Harper

NCUA Chairman Todd M. Harper at the NCUA's headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.

As Prepared for Delivery on April 21, 2022

Thank you, Miguel, for the informative presentation on the Nation Credit Union Administration’s efforts to foster greater diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging not only within the agency, but also throughout the credit union system. And, congratulations, Miguel, on your first Board presentation as the head of our Office of Minority and Women Inclusion. Additionally, I would like to thank Board Member Hood for suggesting today’s briefing, so that we can exchange DEI best practices.

At their core, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are more than policies and principles. They are foundational practices and behaviors to be acted upon. They are vital to strategy, sustainable growth, innovation, talent acquisition, and employee retention at the NCUA and throughout the credit union system.

In recent years, we have also seen efforts to embrace and solidify the principles of DEI as a pillar of the credit union industry and within the cooperative movement. I encourage these worthy efforts to continue.

Over the last year, Miguel and his team’s extensive industry outreach have produced many positive results. For example, the NCUA hosted its second Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Summit, attracting more than 800 participants throughout the credit union system. And, the agency saw the number of credit unions submitting their Annual Voluntary Credit Union Diversity Self-Assessments increase by more than 25 percent.

At the NCUA, we believe that diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are strengths that must be nurtured and supported. As such, we continue to make advances in attracting, hiring, and retaining a diverse workforce. Last year, for example, two out of five new hires at the NCUA were people of color.

And, we have made considerable progress in our outreach to employees with disabilities. Notably, the NCUA exceeded the federal employment goals by 5.4 percentage points for employees with disabilities and 2.5 percentage points for employees with targeted disabilities.

Additionally, we continue to build a diverse leadership pipeline. For example, sixty percent of participants in leadership development programs were female over the last year.

The NCUA also supports workforce diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging efforts through its training, outreach and recruitment, employee resource groups, and special emphasis programs. The Office of Minority and Women Inclusion hosts diversity- and inclusion-related events for employees at least once every month and often multiple times per month.

What is more, the NCUA is committed to supporting minority- and women-owned businesses through our supplier diversity program. In 2021, the agency identified and invited minority- and women-owned businesses to compete for NCUA contracts, including our largest projects. As a result of these efforts, 36.8 percent of the NCUA’s awarded contract dollars in 2021 went to minority- and women-owned businesses and these vendors received 39.4 percent of contract spending.

Further, we recognize the NCUA must lead by example and advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging within our agency, especially in areas where efforts have previously fallen short. For example, this year the agency is focusing on coordinating the plans for a targeted barrier analysis to identify challenges in the hiring and retaining of female and Hispanic employees within the agency. We will also seek to increase the diversity of the agency’s executive and managerial ranks. And, we will refine the implementation of our employee resource group program and further the work of the NCUA’s Culture, Diversity, and Inclusion Council begun under then-Chairman Hood.

Miguel, I have several questions for you. First, I understand that Hispanics and women are underrepresented at our agency compared to the Civilian Labor Force. Would you explain what we are doing to increase their representation?

Thank you for detailing those efforts. You have my full support on these initiatives. My second question is: During your presentation, you mentioned bringing about a sense of belonging at the NCUA. Why is the concept of belonging so important for employee retention?

Thank you, Miguel. As you know, June is Pride month, which is just around the corner. Are there any plans to display the Pride flag for the first time to recognize employees from the LGBTQ+ community?

That is very good to hear. I look forward to joining you and others in recognizing this milestone.

Now, on slide 20 of your presentation, you discuss support for small and minority credit unions. An important part of the NCUA’s efforts to support these credit unions is the preservation of a Minority Depository Institution to the greatest extent possible, including when a minority credit union is in financial difficulty and the best option is to merge that troubled institution into another credit union. The FDIC allows MDIs extra time for assembling their merger applications and bids when the institution being merged is an MDI. What is the NCUA doing in this area?

Thank you for that answer, Miguel. To the extent possible, we can and should take this simple step to preserve the MDI-nature of merging credit unions.

Lastly, through our work on the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, I learned that other federal banking agencies do not use peer metrics when assessing MDIs, because MDIs operate with a different business model that makes it difficult to compare them to other credit unions of the same size. To me, this recognition makes sense. After all, some MDIs may have higher cost structures and more expenses to serve their members.

How could the NCUA implement a similar change for MDI examinations, and what would be the timeframe for implementing this adjustment? Also, how can the NCUA equip examiners with the tools needed to better assess MDI performance?

Thank you, Miguel. This modification of our examination policy is important to me, so I look forward to making progress on this adjustment in the coming months.

In closing, I would like to thank my colleagues, Vice Chairman Hauptman and Board Member Hood, for their continued support of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging initiatives at the NCUA. The NCUA is committed to advancing these principles in its workforce, through its business activities, and within the credit union system throughout 2022 and beyond.

That concludes my questions and remarks. I now recognize Vice Chairman Hauptman.

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