As Prepared for Delivery July 20, 2023
Thank you, Eugene, for your briefing on the 2023 NCUA midsession budget. As always, I appreciate you and your team’s efforts to prudently manage the resources entrusted to the agency. As noted in your presentation, the NCUA has a midsession projected surplus of $5.1 million. That’s good news.
As part of the midsession budget review process, NCUA program offices have also identified several priority and mission-critical areas needing additional funding or positions to meet current operational needs and address potential risks to the agency. Together, these common-sense modifications to the current budget for 2023 would cost $737,000.
Specifically, we need to increase funding for the agency’s reasonable accommodations program. The NCUA has made strides in workplace inclusion and accessibility for individuals with disabilities. We now need to provide additional funding to support their work. That’s just common sense.
Over the last six months, we have also made strides in our efforts to return examiner staffing to budgeted levels. As a result, we now need additional funding to pay for essential background checks associated with these new hires and the NCUA’s effort to fill vacancies in the examiner and leadership ranks. That, too, is common sense.
What’s more, while we have mature cybersecurity operations and procedures at the NCUA, we must continue to enhance those resources to ensure the agency and the credit union system remain protected. Through recent independent third-party assessments, we have determined that we need to add four positions to our cyber squad. Doing so will allow them to respond effectively to potential cyber vulnerabilities and manage and secure NCUA’s enterprise architecture in the cloud. That’s just common sense.
And last, the NCUA Board has reached a consensus on adding two additional positions within the Office of Credit Union Resources and Expansion. CURE’s workload associated with approving field-of-membership expansion requests, charter conversions, bylaw amendments, and other related work has more than doubled in the last five years. While the growth in these types of applications is a good thing for the credit union system and facilitates greater access to safe, fair, and affordable financial products and services, we must also recognize that it puts additional stress on the existing staff.
Adding two new positions in CURE is a reasonable measure in the short term to maintain the progress the NCUA has made in improving its chartering and field-of membership-initiatives.1 Thank you, Vice Chairman Hauptman and Board Member Hood, for working to reach a consensus on this staffing change. And, like you, I remain committed to working to identify subsequent information systems and technology enhancements that will further advance an efficient and effective review process within CURE. That also is common sense.
In closing, the NCUA Board must ensure the credit union system and the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund can adapt to the evolving financial, economic, and market conditions brought on by various external events and pressures. I thank my fellow Board members and the NCUA leadership team for remaining fiscally responsible and for working together to operate within our means while achieving the NCUA’s core mission of protecting the system of cooperative credit and its member-owners through effective chartering, supervision, regulation, and insurance.
That concludes my remarks. I now recognize Vice Chairman Hauptman.