BECU’s Porter Vies to Become First Credit Union Pro on FHLB Seattle Board

The Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) is supporting BECU President and CEO Benson Porter as a candidate to become the first-ever credit union professional on the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle’s board of directors.

The FHLB Seattle serves more than 300 financial institutions by providing liquidity funding for affordable housing and community economic development. Despite being a cooperative financial institution itself, the FHLB Seattle has never had a credit union representative on its board.

Porter is opposed by five different bankers in his bid for the open Washington member director position, and according to NWCUA President and CEO Troy Stang, his appointment would be a significant step for the entire credit union movement.

“This is important to all credit unions—those who are active borrowers in the FHLB system and those who are not at this time,” Stang said. “The FHLB is a critical resource for community-based lenders, and no other credit union representatives are involved in this year’s FHLB election.”

Porter explained that the recent financial crisis made credit union representation on the board that much more important, giving the FHLB Seattle, which reported a return to profitability as well as the restoration of normal operations in July, a more direct channel for collaboration with the region’s credit unions.

“During the financial crisis, the FHLB of Seattle came under intense strain from many of the same types of investments that challenged the corporate credit union system,” Porter stated in an email. “After several years of suspended dividends and stock impediments, the FHLB of Seattle’s financial condition appears to have stabilized with the recent upgrade of its capital status and regulatory approval to begin limited excess stock repurchases. There remains work to be done to return to normal operations, and I believe the return of a strong FHLB of Seattle to support its membership is an important objective we should support. One way is to actively engage in the governance of this fellow cooperative financial institution.”

William Humphreys of Citezens Bancorp is running unopposed as the incumbent for the Oregon member director seat. In addition to the two  member direction positions, four additional candidates are running for two independent seats. All members of the FHLB Seattle can vote for two candidates.

“We have the opportunity to elect one of our own, giving us a historic seat at the table shaping the FHLB’s policy,” Stang said. “It is critical that all Washington credit union members of the FHLB vote.”

Through his previous post as the president and CEO of Addison Avenue Federal Credit Union, Porter was elected to the board of the San Francisco FHLB in 2009, making him the first credit union representative elected to the San Francisco board as well. Porter said this familiarity would serve him well if elected to the Seattle board.

“This experience is valuable as, if elected, I can contribute immediately as a new board member,” Porter stated. “No other candidate has this experience. Regardless of whether you are or plan to be an active borrower from the FHLB of Seattle, it is an important source of contingent liquidity for our industry and remains the most viable, if not only, means to access the capital market for us and other community-based lenders.

The Association is also supporting Kerry Tymchuk in his campaign to fill one of the independent member director slots. He has worked closely with Pam Leavitt, the NWCUA’s policy advisor in Oregon, for several years promoting credit union causes.

“As a member of two credit unions—OnPoint and USACU—I have a very personal understanding of the benefits offered by credit unions, and the positive difference they make for communities and for countless families,” Tymchuk said. “During my twelve years as a top aide to United States Senator Gordon Smith, I joined with the Senator in meeting on many occasions with the leaders of Oregon’s credit unions. I understand the issues that are important to you, and the unique challenges you face, and can be an effective advocate for policies key to your continued growth and success.”

The Seattle Bank’s Board of Directors is comprised of financial service, business, and community leaders from across our district. The board currently includes 14 directors: eight member directors and six independent directors. Three of the independent directors are designated as public interest directors.

  • Member directors must be officers or directors of Seattle FHLB member institutions.
  • Independent directors are required to have knowledge or experience in one or more of the following areas: auditing and accounting, derivatives, financial management, organizational management, project development, risk management practices, or the law.
  • Public interest directors are required to have at least four years experience representing consumer or community interests on banking services, credit needs, housing, or financial consumer protections.

All directors serve on one or more of the Seattle Bank’s board committees: Audit and Compliance; Executive; Financial Operations and Affordable Housing; Governance, Budget and Compensation; Regulatory Oversight; and Risk.

Directors generally serve four-year terms, which are staggered to better ensure continuity in our corporate governance. Some directors may serve shorter terms in order to ensure that approximately one-fourth of the terms expire each year. Seattle Bank executives may not serve as chair or members of the Board of Directors.

Twelve FHLBs exist nationwide, and credit unions with at least 10 percent of their assets in residential mortgage loans or real estate-related securities may join the ones serving their regions.

 

Questions or Concerns? Contact Matt Halvorson, Anthem Editor: mhalvorson@nwcua.org.

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