Inclusion Insights Kick Off This Year’s GAC

The Small Credit Union Roundtable featured CEOs bringing members into the financial mainstream and NCUA chair Rodney Hood on the regulator’s role.

Inclusion was a central theme Sunday as CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference once again kicked off with its Small Credit Union Roundtable.

Financial inclusion is the civil rights issue of our generation, NCUA chair Rodney Hood told the session, sponsored by the CUNA Small Credit Union Committee gathered mid-afternoon in the Washington Convention Center.

Hood was making his first appearance at the movement’s largest gathering since he rejoined the regulator last March. He had served on the NCUA board from 2005-2009.

Hood says he’ll be embarking on a 50-state tour of credit unions, their associations, leagues, and all those who support the credit union ecosystem. That will help lay the groundwork for what he calls an effort to ensure rural, minority, and disabled communities are no longer left out of mainstream finances.

Credit unions and their regulator won’t be going it alone. Hood says he also plans to work with the USDA and other stakeholders who are in a position to make a difference.

The new NCUA board chair also listed initiatives the agency has begun since he came aboard 10 months ago, including:

  • New payday loan rules that remove the 30-day membership requirement. People who need those loans simply can’t wait 30 days, Hood says. If we don’t provide them, it makes our marginalized communities that much more vulnerable.
  • A second-chance initiative that removes a prohibition against employment at a federally insured credit union by people with non-violent criminal convictions. Hood said he met a woman in Virginia who, now in her 50s, wanted to work at her neighborhood credit union but couldn’t because of a mistake she made as a teenager. Now, she can be included in the industry we love, he says, along with tens of millions of other Americans in the same situation.
  • A Minority Depository Institution mentoring program between large and small credit unions to foster best practices in attracting and managing those government-owned dollars.
  • Expanding access to financial literacy and coaching, especially in the area of home buying and ownership.

Financial inclusion is the civil rights issue of our generation.

Rodney Hood, Chair, NCUA

Hood and other presenters stressed that member-owned cooperatives are in a natural place to foster inclusion, especially smaller institutions that live and work in close quarters with their members.

Or, as Amy Broderson, president and CEO of Family Focus Federal Credit Union ($33.9M, Omaha, NE), says: Many CEOs can’t know their members. We can. We even know some just by their voices.

Broderson was among a panel of CEOs who led a discussion about issues and opportunities facing small credit unions.

Denny Siemers, CEO of Town and Country Credit Union ($32.7M, Harlan, IA), says his credit union is becoming a major local enabler of the American Dream by providing mortgages to members who banks wouldn’t serve.

According to Erick Orellana, CEO Comunidad Latina FCU ($5.5M, Santa Ana, CA), his credit union is caring for the poorest of the poor. That includes housekeepers and farm workers trying to get by on household incomes that average less than $25,000 a year for a family of four in a community where rents average more than $2,000 a month.

And Dale Hansard, CEO of Caprock FCU ($31.9M, Lamesa, TX), says his credit union is working to find and retain staff that have the capacity to truly empathize with the people who come in the door for help, primarily single mothers in a service area dominated by cotton farming and oil fields.

Whether city or rural, these and other cooperatives face many of the challenges that committee chair Lori Herrick, president and CEO of Manchester Municipal FCU ($25.1M, Manchester, CT) listed as the results of a nationwide survey of the biggest issues facing small credit unions.

They are CECL, the regulatory burden, cybersecurity, and difficulty completing the 5300 Call Report.

Hood addressed those concerns by outlining NCUA plans that include extending the examination cycle for high-performing small credit unions.

He also announced Sunday that the regulator has released $1.5 million in grant funds for cybersecurity, digital services, corporate governance, and Minority Depository Institution projects at NCUA-designated low income credit unions. Applications will be taken in May and June.

You’re hearing it here first, he told the group. Now, go apply.

February 24, 2020

Keep Reading

View all posts in:
More on:
Scroll to Top
Verified by MonsterInsights