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Hyland The future is now
WASHINGTON (2/24/10)—After entering the stage of the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) to the tune of, “It’s the End of the World as We Know It,” by rock band R.E.M, National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Vice Chair Gigi Hyland told credit unions that the future is now. Hyland spoke during the general session of the conference Tuesday. She acknowledged that 2010 will be a tough year for credit unions, evidenced by data from previous recessions showing a lag effect on credit unions recovering from a recession. However, she encouraged credit unions to seize the future. To attendees who might not be ready to think about the future just yet, she said: “If not now, when?” The credit union movement is not the credit union stationary bicycle. “It’s the end of the world as we know it and it’s time for the movement to do something,” Hyland added. Hyland also discussed her feelings on NCUA’s role in the credit union movement. She said her vision is something called “constructive conflict.” She referenced a recent article in which Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of health research at Public Citizen and a longtime drug industry critic, described the relationship between the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the companies it monitors. The FDA must maintain constructive conflict, otherwise, what’s the point of the FDA, he questioned. The same is true of NCUA, she said. NCUA must maintain constructive conflict with the credit unions it regulates and insures. “The key word is constructive. I believe ‘constructive’ means getting out of your way to serve your members. This must be balanced by ensuring you do so safely and soundly with appropriate due diligence. My vision for the future is a safe and sound credit union system that is dynamically focused on serving members,” she said. NCUA has sent out recent supervisory letters on earnings, supervision of community development credit unions, and member business lending (MBL) and its risks. Hyland supports lifting the cap on MBLs—but said that if the cap is lifted, there must be safeguards in place. Hyland also is working on a white paper about supplemental capital—capital that credit unions do not currently have access to. She has consulted with regulators in the states and internationally on the issue—and also with CUNA staff. The paper is coming soon, she said. Hyland also noted that being a credit union CEO is tougher than ever. She encouraged credit union CEOs to collaborate and educate, while encouraging credit union volunteers to check the strategic directions of their credit unions and ensure that the board and staff reflect the diversity of membership. And lastly, credit unions need to engage young people. Hyland pointed out members of “Crash the GAC,” a group of young conference attendees, in the audience. “Take a look back there,” she said. “That’s our future.”


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