NCUA Vice Chair Metsger Outlines his Four Regulatory Relief Priorities

Metsger outlined his four top regulatory relief priorities for his term as an NCUA director.

NCUA Vice Chairman and Portland native Rick Metsger took the stage after Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek. “I still have my little house in Salem near the capitol,” he said.

Metsger was forthright about the challenges of the federal regulatory landscape for credit unions. “Our charter is not as good as the progressive ones in here in Oregon and Washington,” he said. “We’re working on that.”

“Here in Oregon and Washington, every year you’re working to advance the charters, in order to give consumers a choice in financial services,” he continued. “My responsibility as a federal regulator is also to give consumers choice in financial services.”

He said that, as an NCUA Director, his first responsibility is to ensure the safety and soundness of credit unions. “But I think about that differently,” he said.

He explained that one paradigm of credit union regulation is to restrict what credit unions can do so as not to risk drawing from the Share Insurance Fund. But, he said, he thinks safety and soundness can be achieved another way.

“I think we need to give credit unions the tools to be successful,” said Metsger. He said that strong, healthy credit unions insulate the share insurance fund from losses, so giving credit unions the tools to succeed is one of the surest ways to ensure safety and soundness.

“What are credit unions not allowed to do that might be helpful?” he asked.

Metsger said that his time serving as a Director on OnPoint Credit Union helped frame his understanding of regulation. “Often we are acting as directors of credit unions rather than as regulators,” said Metsger.

He said that his goal when he began his term on the NCUA Board was to “take things we were doing at NCUA and put them back in the hands of directors where they belong.” In fact, he said, in his very first Board meeting he asked about the fixed asset rule, “Why do we have that rule? Isn’t that for directors and credit union managers to decide?”

Metsger outlined four key areas that he has chosen to focus on during his four year term on the NCUA Board:

  1. Fix Assets
  2. Association Common Bonds
  3. Member Business Lending
  4. Fields of Membership

He said that things move slowly in Washington D.C., citing the Fixed Assets rule which, though it encountered very little resistance, took two years to become fully effective.

He encouraged credit unions to engage in the dialogue around the Member Business Lending rule, giving it the support it needs to make it through Congress.

And he said that he intends to bring recommendations on expanding Fields of Membership before the Board in the next 60 days, and that he wants credit unions’ input.

“If my tenure on the NCUA Board ends with all four of those in law, then I will have been successful in my impact on the credit union system,” he closed. 

Posted in Advocacy News, NCUA.