2 New NCUA Board Members Outline Agenda Before Reps From State League System

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In remarks before a group of credit union league executives, a NCUA board member Gigi Hyland reiterated her support for the role the leagues play and called on the leagues to "continue to strive to assure credit unions' future as a vital and vibrant component of the financial services sector." The remarks were made before the American Association of Credit Union Leagues' (AACUL) meeting here.

When queried about her position on credit union-to-bank conversions, Hyland praised the AACUL for publishing a report in August, 2005 entitled, "Protecting the Rights of Credit Union Members" last August, but did not advocate any position. NCUA, which lost an effort in 2005 to oppose credit union conversions, has put in place rules requiring greater disclosure to members.

"The depth of the report and the recommendations it contains will serve as fodder for this board member to consider as the agency addresses possible changes to its conversion regulation," she said.

Separately, Hyland also addressed the appropriate role of a regulator; recent proposed changes to NCUA's chartering manual, and the ongoing issue of validation of credit unions' efforts to serve all segments of their fields of membership.

Seeking To Enhance FCU Charter

Meanwhile, in separate remarks before AACUL, NCUA Vice Chairman Rodney E. Hood said he is focused on promoting a regulatory agenda that encourages safe and sound innovation and empowers credit unions to serve members from all walks of life, as opposed to regulatory burdens that stifle growth opportunities for credit unions or suppresses the benefit of the federal credit union charter.

"I am committed to listening carefully, working hard, and doing my level best to ensure the safety and soundness of the nation's federally insured credit unions," said Hood. "Realizing the role that credit unions can play in being a financial partner of opportunity for their members, I am encouraging the NCUA, where the federal statutes allow, to enable credit unions to extend their services in more innovative ways so more members have access to lower-cost financial services."

Hood added, "NCUA must continue to enhance and promote the federal credit union charter. I am calling on the NCUA staff to look for ways to say 'yes' to safe and sound creative regulatory approaches designed to make federal credit unions more competitive-rather than adopting a 'Just Say No' approach."

As for the recent lawsuits filed against the agency over its FOM rules by the banking trade groups, Hood added, "Because of recent attacks from the banking industry, NCUA and those we regulate, should not retreat in defeat, but rather recognize that these attacks are on underserved consumers' freedom and choice of a financial services provider. I can tell you there are those in the financial services community who desire to limit consumer choice for affordable financial services and who will do everything in their power to stop credit unions from serving those who need them most."

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