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News Now

Washington
Hyland interview continues call for diversity in CUs
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (8/12/09)--National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) board member Gigi Hyland renewed her call for stronger diversity within the credit union movement, telling attendees at a credit union conference that “diversity and collaboration are the cornerstones for credit unions’ future sustainability and success.” Hyland’s comments, which were delivered before the African-American Credit Union Coalition’s annual conference, echoed statements made during a recent interview with News Now staff. During the interview, Hyland said that credit union directors should work to ensure that their leadership at both the staff and the board level “truly reflects” the diversity of their field of membership. Reflecting the true scope of their membership is of particular importance to community credit unions, which have a slightly different business model and different goals from the majority of credit unions. While the NCUA board must continue to talk about diversity in credit unions, Hyland said that the board must also lead by example by being aware of its own internal practices. Both the NCUA and individual credit unions should also work “in their own individual way” to foster interest in credit unions among younger potential members to ensure the future sustainability of the credit union business model. Continuing the credit union system’s emphasis on financial education is key not just to empowering people and helping them understand and manage their money, but also to helping them to recognize “the credit union difference,” Hyland added. Hyland told News Now that while she looks forward to welcoming incoming NCUA Chairman Deborah Matz back to the board, she is unsure whether the seating of a new, Democratic chair will mark a significant shift in the tone of NCUA actions. While it’s a “very partisan process” to get on the board, Hyland said that the partisanship on the board “is not as strong as some people might think it would be” once the board members begin their work. Each board member's “charge” is to “protect the safety and soundness” of credit unions and the insurance fund while also working to protect consumers, and partisanship does not come into play in the deliberation of issues related to that stated mission, Hyland said. Generally, Hyland said that she could not anticipate what types of changes would be advocated by Matz. More specifically, Hyland said that she did not know what form the NCUA’s pending rule changes for corporates would take. However, public comment will be crucial to how the NCUA moves forward to address any changes to corporate governance. While unsure whether the NCUA would take on the issue itself, she advocates that credit unions offering alternatives to short-term payday loans should “offer those products in a manner that is consistent with the credit union mission and not chase fees for the sake of chasing fees.”


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