Co-Ops 4 Change Charges: Potential Cooperative Regulators Must Have Ongoing Dialogue with the Industry

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In anticipation of upcoming confirmation hearings for the NCUA Board nominee who would replace former Board Member Gigi Hyland (D), Co-Ops for Change provided questions to consider during their appearance.

By creating a forum for credit unions to offer questions they would like to see Board candidates answer, we can foster an industry-wide conversation

In anticipation of upcoming confirmation hearings for the NCUA Board nominee who would replace former Board Member Gigi Hyland (D), Co-Ops for Change provided questions to consider during their appearance. The sample questions were offered to encourage legislators to ask questions that would provide insights into the nominee’s understanding of cooperative principles, as well as the appropriateness of current regulatory practices.

Co-Ops for Change is making available its list of questions at coops4change, and encourages credit union professionals to review them, as well as offer their own thoughts on what they would like to know about potential nominees.

"With another NCUA Board vacancy on the horizon as Board Member Michael Fryzel’s term ends on August 2, this is an opportunity for the credit union movement’s voice to be heard," said Chip Filson, Founder of Co-Ops for Change and Chairman of Callahan & Associates. "By creating a forum for credit unions to offer questions, they would like to see Board candidates answer, we can foster an industry-wide conversation – one that could take a first step to enhancing the regulatory process."

Co-Ops for Change suggests that nominees be asked about their vision for the role of financial cooperatives in the American economy and the role regulators should play in presenting the public benefits credit unions provide. Other questions include asking where potential regulators stand on the growing number of NCUA rules and regulation; the need for transparency in the Agency’s decision-making process; and arbitrary supervisory actions.    

“These questions are especially important now, given the credit union movement’s resurgence from the 2008 recession,” Filson explained. “Today, credit unions have more than $1 trillion in assets, $600 billion in loans and 95.8 million members. As the U.S. cooperative financial model continues to expand, many industry leaders are concerned that NCUA has treated credit unions more like banks than member-owned and governed institutions.

The upcoming confirmation hearings provide the opportunity to ensure that incoming regulators are prepared to support the cooperative model and stimulate discussion about the need for cooperative principles in Board decisions.

Co-Ops for Change is a grassroots organization founded on the principle that effective regulation of cooperatives is dynamic and should encourage ongoing dialogue between the regulator and the regulated.

Credit unions, CUSOs, service providers, current regulators and others who wish to participate in the discussion are invited to visit coops4change, and comment on/add to the questions. The page will be updated in real time as issues are brought forth.

About Co-Ops for Change
Co-Ops for Change is a grassroots movement to increase awareness both within the credit union community and among elected policymakers that our regulatory leadership should understand and support the seven cooperative principles. The regulatory process should consider credit unions’ cooperative character, as well as the shared economic value they create for people and communities. Credit union members, volunteers, professionals and industry supporters can learn more about the campaign at http://www.Coops4Change.org.

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Jennifer Rosenbaum
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