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News Now

Washington
Matz NCUA future framed by big issues
WASHINGTON (8/31//09)—The agenda for the September National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) open board meeting, the first at which Deborah Matz will be chair, may not have been set yet—but some glimpses of the new chairman’s future are clear. One of the biggest and most pressing issues facing the agency right now is its effort to stabilize and restructure the corporate credit union system—a plan that recently generated around 500 public comment letters. The NCUA board members have been careful not to indicate any preconceived notions about how the restructuring should look and they have repeatedly encouraged credit unions to send their ideas for a revamping plan. Matz seemed to mirror this approach at her confirmation hearing in July when the subject of corporate credit unions was raised. Matz noted simply that during her previous tenure on the NCUA board, she voted against a 2002 corporate credit union rule because she believed it did not adequately address her concern regarding an undue concentration of risk. Risk concentration is an area of interest to other board members as well, and to a back drop of the nation’s hard-hit economy, which is just sending up shoots of recovery, it is likely to see much debate in public and in private as Matz moves the corporate plan forward. Matz assumes chairmanship of the NCUA just as the U.S. Congress returns to Washington after its month-long summer district work session. While she will be navigating her agency through such regulatory considerations as compliance with new Credit CARD Act rules (see related story: Some guidance on examiner flexibility for CARD Act issued by NCUA), the Obama administration’s efforts for overall financial institution regulatory reform will certainly also be on the board members’ minds. Specifically, Matz assuredly will be closely monitoring the possible development of a Consumer Financial Protection Agency and considering whether the NCUA will pursue Michael Fryzel’s plan to establish its own consumer panel within the auspices of the agency. Other legislative issues that will help compose the framework within which the federal regulator operates in the near term are expanded member business lending, as proposed in a bill introduced by Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.), and, of pivotal interest to credit unions, any actions to allow supplemental capital. After the agency’s customary August break for open board meetings, Matz will be joining board members Fryzel and Gigi Hyland for a public meeting on Sept. 24.


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