President Appoints Matz, Johnson To Fill Vacant Board Seats At NCUA

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President Bush last week filled out the NCUA Board, naming JoAnn Johnson, a Republican, and Deborah Matz, a Democrat, as recess appointees to the three-member panel.

The recess appointments came at the last minute, the evening before Congress was due to return from its holiday hiatus and end its recess. As recess appointees the two board members may serve until the end of the year, unless they are confirmed to full six-year terms by the Senate.

Sources at the Senate Banking Committee, which will review the two candidates before making a recommendation to the full Senate, said the two have met with Chairman Paul Sarbanes (D-MD), who plans to hold confirmation hearings shortly, perhaps as soon as next month.

Johnson is a state senator from Iowa, where she has familiarity with credit union issues as chair of the Senate Commerce Committee. She was previously chair of the Senate Ways and Committee, the tax-writing panel that has fielded regular efforts by the state's bankers to increase taxes on state-chartered credit unions. She also has familial ties to NCUA because her father-in-law, Don Johnson, ran daily operations at the agency in the 1980s as executive director under former NCUA Chairman Roger Jepsen. However, JoAnn Johnson said she did not know her father-in-law well as he was living in Washington while she was in Iowa.

Matz served as an economist for the Joint Economic Committee in Congress, before serving as deputy assistant security for administration at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Her most recent job was as executive of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

The dual appointments will bring up to full strength the NCUA board, which has been hampered by the presence of a single member, Chairman Dennis Dollar, since last month's departures of Geoff Bacino and Yolanda Wheat. Though Dollar has the authority to make policy and rulemaking decisions as the lone board member, he has been reluctant to do so. He chose to defer decisions on several issues at this month's board meeting until the next board meeting, when he expected to be joined by one or more additional board meetings. The next NCUA board meeting is Feb. 7.

"The NCUA board is now solidified with the addition of these two outstanding board members," said Dollar. "I am very appreciative of the President for giving NCUA priority during the recess appointment process."

The new board members were both sworn in last week and were touring the agency to meet with staff and get oriented on policy issues.

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