As Prepared for Delivery on March 17, 2022
Melissa and Lindsey, thank you for presenting the NCUA’s 2022–2026 Strategic Plan to the Board today. And, my sincere thanks to both of you and the entire team from the Office of Chief Financial Officer for your excellent work in developing and finalizing this plan. During the past several months, your team has been front and center on many projects, including the agency’s 2022 budget, the annual audits of the agency’s three funds, the development of the annual performance plan, and the drafting of the annual report. Thank you for all your hard work.
Over the last four years, federally insured credit unions have grown in both size and complexity, offering new products and services, and facilitating financial transactions in an ever-growing digital and mobile space. What is more, the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting financial and economic disruptions have accelerated many of these trends.
As such, the NCUA must continue to evolve our examination program and administrative operations to ensure the fulfillment of our statutory obligations to maintain a safe and sound credit union system where credit union members are protected. The NCUA must also continue expanding access to safe and affordable financial services, providing financial education, and closing the wealth gap.
The NCUA developed this strategic plan through collaboration between Board members and input from and coordination by staff. This final strategic plan also incorporates the feedback and recommendations of stakeholders throughout the credit union system.
Under this plan, the agency’s revised strategic goals aim to:
- Ensure a safe, sound, and viable system of cooperative credit that protects consumers;
- Improve the financial well-being of individuals and communities through access to affordable and equitable financial products and services; and
- Maximize organizational performance to enable mission success.
To meet our first strategic goal, we examine credit unions to ensure they operate in a financially sound manner and comply with all laws and regulations, including those related to consumer financial protection and fair lending. This work ensures that consumers can confidently use credit unions for their financial needs, and businesses and communities have access to the credit they need to grow and thrive.
As part of our second goal, the NCUA develops rules, regulations, and initiatives designed to expand access to safe, fair, and affordable financial products and services. This work includes chartering new credit unions, a priority for Vice Chairman Hauptman, and facilitating changes to credit unions’ fields of membership, a priority for Board Member Hood. And, this work fulfills the statutory mission of the credit union system, which is to meet the credit and savings needs of their members, especially those of modest means, a point I often emphasize in speeches.
Our third goal involves accomplishing our mission on behalf of credit union members through teamwork. A critical part of this goal is building a diverse and talented workforce and creating an inclusive environment where all employees have a sense of belonging and can bring their full and true selves to their work. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are priorities for the NCUA.
With the implementation of this strategic plan, the mission and vision statements for the NCUA have become more inclusive of the agency’s actual responsibilities and roles. Safety and soundness are not the only aspects of the NCUA’s mission. The agency also protects consumers and credit union members. And, this plan seeks to strengthen and advance financial inclusion, as well as economic equity and justice within communities of color, rural places, and underserved areas. Both Board Member Hood and I have often spoken about the need for the agency to do more in this area.
Ultimately, at the core of the NCUA are the hardworking and dedicated employees, examiners, and executives who serve the public and credit union members. The NCUA team is essential to the agency’s continued success. Throughout the implementation of this strategic plan, the NCUA will work to recruit, train, develop, and retain a highly skilled and diverse workforce that is effective, innovative, and able to adapt to the continually changing financial services marketplace.
While the future is always filled with uncertainty, this strategic plan will guide the agency and the system in responding to any unexpected developments. This strategic plan will also assist us in addressing any challenges and opportunities the credit union system may experience, including those related to emerging financial technology, a priority for which Vice Chairman Hauptman and Board Member Hood have both pressed. The NCUA stands ready to meet all challenges head-on and seize those opportunities, so that the agency and the credit union system may continue to evolve, innovate, and grow.
In sum, our efforts to implement the 2022–2026 Strategic Plan will ensure that the nearly 130 million Americans who place their hard-earned savings and financial dreams in the hands of our nation’s system of cooperative credit are protected and able to utilize credit unions for many years to come.
That concludes my remarks. Vice Chairman Hauptman, the floor is yours.