No Time For Yes Men At NCUA

Is making the NCUA look professional more important than debating rules before they're passed?

Earlier this month, a Credit Union Times poll asked readers: What do you think of the NCUA board’s public disagreements?

The three main responses were:

  1. Healthy debate can lead to change.
  2. It’s a waste of resources.
  3. It makes the board look unprofessional.

To my surprise, 19% of respondents said it’s a waste of resources and makes the board look unprofessional.

That’s absurd.

These days, the credit union industry seems to be so concerned with perception that it’s afraid to put a foot forward to create change. We’d rather hold back our thoughts and then whine through the results.

For the first time in what seems like a long time, we have an NCUA board that is willing to discuss matters in a transparent way. This is not something to be embarrassed by or ashamed of other industries should want this type of discussion.

There is a fine line between discussion and bickering. Cynics might see the NCUA board’s recent disagreements as the latter. Others might see it as political posturing; a small-scale version of the gamesmanship we see in Congress. Maybe it’s just a kids these days mentality, but we seem too easy to offend and thus too unwilling to listen.

Risk-based capital is a serious issue that needs a thorough discussion. I’d rather have people think the NCUA board is unprofessional because its members disagree about what’s best for credit unions than have the board pass the rule without listening to more than one side.

To those that think the recent disagreements are a waste of resources or unprofessional, I challenge you to give me a good reason why that’s the case.

Why should the perception that we’re dysfunctional worry us more than the possibility that a rule that will have a large impact on credit unions is passed without a second thought?

Here’s to dissent and risking the unseemly brawls that our industry dreads. Tell me why I’m wrong.

Randy Karnes is CEO of CU*Answers, the Michigan-based core processing CUSO. He shares his thoughts in his blog Tell Me Why I’m Wrong.

February 23, 2015

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