Bush Seen Naming Florida Republican to NCUA

The Bush administration is expected to fill a long-running vacancy on the board of the National Credit Union Administration by nominating Florida real estate broker Shirlee P. Bowne to the post.

Ms. Bowne, 55, is treasurer of the Republican Party of Florida. The action, slated for Congress' return next month, cannot come soon enough for some in the credit union industry.

H.C. "Hank" Klein, chairman of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, recently wrote President Bush to complain about the vacancy.

The opening on the three-member NCUA board was created in August 1990, when Elizabeth F. Burkhart retired.

"I write to you today to express our genuine puzzlement and concern over your failure to send to the Senate the name of a qualified individual to fill the open seat on the National Credit Union Administration board," Mr. Klein stated in his Aug. 14 letter.

He noted that the board has operated without a full complement of members 28% of the time since it was created, in 1979. Since the credit union insurance fund was recapitalized in 1985, the board has been down a member 41% of the time, he said.

Robert E. Loftus, an NCUA lobbyist, said the White House is not ignoring the agency. "It's my understanding that a lot of these appointments out of the White House take a lot of time," he said. "We have been told by the White House that they are very close" to announcing Ms. Bowne's appointment, he added.

Ms. Bowne (pronounced BOW-NAY) is president of Shirlee Bowne Marketing and Development Inc., a real estate brokerage company in Tallahassee. In an interview last week, Ms. Bowne said she does not know much about credit unions and does not belong to one. She stressed, though, that someone who runs a small business, as she does, has much in common with people who run and belong to credit unions.

|People Tend to Learn'

Pat Keefe, spokesman for the trade association, said, "We've had non-credit-union people before;" the reference was to Ms. Burkhart and P.A. Mack, who served from 1979 to 1987.

"People tend to learn." Mr. Keefe said.

Ms. Bowne said she has met President Bush several times and is a friend of Jeb Bush, the President's son, who is a real estate developer in Florida.

"I know Jeb very well," she said. "We worked on a lot of projects together."

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