ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Once again, National Credit, Union Administration board director Robert Swan is the odd man out.
Mr. Swan, the only board member who has worked at a credit union, who is prepared to oppose a final rule that would end shared management between the industry's liquidity centers and its largest trade group. He's also preprepared to lose.
"I think it shouldn't be on the agenda, I think it needs more time, and I still can't support it in total," Mr. Swan said of the proposal, which will be voted on Nov. 10. "There have to be changes."
His current situation is analogous to one in 1992, when he stood against then-NCUA Chairman Roger Jepsen and Vice Chairman Shirlee Bowne by opposing building the agency's new headquarters in Alexandria. As with the headquarters, ending management interlocks between corporates and the Credit Union with many in the industry.
Prior to his appointment in 1990, he was president of Tooele (Utah) Federal Credit Union.
His background gives Mr. Swan a measure of credibility with industry officials.
When it comes to the proposal under consideration this week, Mr. Swan's experience tells him it is not needed.
"We already have the regulatory authority to take care of any situation;' he said.
NCUA Chairman Norman E. D'Amours denies that further regulation is unnecessary.
"If it were. we wouldn't be doing this," he said.
Mr. Swan also said by approving the regulation, the agency would be trampling over the jurisdiction of state regulators by dictating the governance of statechartered corporates.
Management structure is something the agency shouldn't touch, he insisted.
"Our role is strictly one of enforcing safety and soundness and unless one can prove there's a danger, I don't think we can tell corporates" to alter management, Mr. Swan said.
Mr. Swan also had sharp criticism for the decision-making process behind the proposal.
"I don't think we are being as legitimately responsive as we should be," he said. "During our so-called comment period, we say thanks for the comment but we don't believe you."
Most of the letters the agency received opposed the regulation.
Nevertheless, Mr. D'Amours has said that most credit unions favor clamping down on corporates and that the comment letters represent an orchestrated letterwriting campaign by CUNA.
Mr. Swan disagreed.
"I think the letters reflect the attitude of the credit union commumty," he said. "The president of a credit union doesn't have to do something the league tells him to do." Credit union chiefs who oppose the proposal point to Mr. Swan to support their position. "I'm amazed" that NCUA is ignoring credit union comments, said Robert Dargan, president of South Carolina Federal Credit Union. "Bob Swan made that observation."
Mr. D'Amours said there has been plenty of dialogue between the agency and the industry over the rule. He referred to an Oct. 24 meeting with credit-union representatives that led to some casing of the proposal.
Mr. Swan said the revisions made so far are good ones, but they still don't go far enough.
Asked why the agency is pushing for the regulation, Mr. Swan shrugged and said, "I don't know.
"That's the question I ask myself every day, and it echoes on the seventh floor [where the board members' offices are located], in and out of the empty rooms, and bounces back at me." he said.