Senate Poised To Replenish NCUABoard

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WASHINGTON - (10/26/05) -- Senate leaders indicated theirintent Tuesday to confirm the two nominees for the NCUA Board andreplenish the three-member panel, currently consisting of just NCUAChairman JoAnn Johnson, as soon as possible. Senate BankingCommittee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and other senatorsexpressed their support for the two NCUA candidates, RepublicanRodney Hood and Democrat Christine Gigi Hyland, with Shelbyindicating he planned to have the panel vote quickly on anendorsement, then move the two nominations to a speedy vote by thefull Senate. The sole issue raised about Hyland, was whether herlong-time work in the credit union industry might affect herability to act as an independent regulator. "If you were to beconfirmed--and I predict you will be--your responsibilities willchange from that of an advocate to an independent regulator. Tothat extent, should a regulator appear to be an industry advocate?"asked Shelby. But Hyland, who works as general counsel for EmpireCorporate FCU and worked for several years as a CUNA lobbyist aswell as a credit union lawyer, insisted she will set the safety andsoundness of credit unions as her top priority. "There is a line tobe drawn, in terms of listening to the industry and listening tostaff , while balancing the (responsibilities) of a regulator," sheresponded. The issue is an important one, as the influence withNCUA of the credit union lobby groups, particularly CUNA, has grownin recent years; first with the appointment of CUNA Vice PresidentSteve Bosack as top aide to NCUA Board member Deborah Matz, thenwith the hiring of former CUNA director Holly Herman as top aide toChairman Johnson. When Shelby asked Hood what he sees as the mostthreatening trend for credit unions, Hood cited the risks to thefederal tax exemption, which will be reviewed during a hearing thisweek by the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee. "If (repealof the tax exemption) were to come to fruition it would have suchan adverse affect on credit unions' ability to serve the needs ofunderserved individuals," Hood told Shelby.

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