As Prepared for Delivery on March 17, 2022
Thank you, Keith and Brian. This is certainly good news today. As regulators, we are often in the position of playing the Grinch. I have to say, being Santa is more fun, even if we’re just giving people back their own money.
The first time we had a board briefing on this, I gave you a bit of a hard time about our communication process.
Back in 2011, at the start of the program, the original assumption was, “Don’t expect much money back, if anything.” Fortunately, that changed, and we have had several significant distributions over the past two years.
But not only did the assumptions change, so did the credit unions. Mergers, new CEOs, and staff turn-over eroded the institutional memory of what had happened. Unless a credit union kept track of the original documentation, they weren’t expecting to get a check nor had much idea of when or a ballpark idea of how much they’d get. And even if they did have their documentation handy, we were expecting them to search our website for information or perhaps rely on corporate credit unions to relay information.
We are responsible for the credit unions’ money. I think we agreed last year that we could have been better at communicating with the credit unions. Credit unions were making budget decisions, and a CEO that didn’t know they had this money coming to them made decisions about staffing and resources that might have been different if they had known. I’d hate to have been a credit union employee that was laid-off because the credit union didn’t realize there was extra cash coming to them due to this program. As I said, it’s welcome communication we shouldn’t be gun-shy about making. Handing out cash makes someone pretty popular.
I want to congratulate you for the work you and your team have done to improve communication, including a concerted effort to push information to affected credit unions. Whenever we are managing their money, it’s our responsibility to go to them, not expect them to come to us.
I do have a question for you. Relative to earlier distributions, what are the changes you made to communicate with the credit unions and corporates?
And can you review about how many credit unions will receive a distribution this year and ballpark average payment amounts?
Thank you. Mr. Chairman, that concludes my remarks.