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What Will the Departure of Gigi Hyland and Dave Marquis Mean for NCUA and Credit Unions?

By:  Bill Cheney, President/CEO of Credit Union National Association

We have gotten this question repeatedly in the last few days. While it is a good and fair inquiry, no one can say for certain whether things will be better or worse with the departure of these NCUA officials, but they will be different.

That said, throughout her tenure at NCUA, Gigi raised a number of key issues and led at least two important internal working groups, one on Supplementary Capital, and the other on the definition of small credit unions that led to the proposal earlier this month to raise the ceiling for a small credit union from $10 million to $30 million.  We think the ceiling should be much higher, at least $100 million, but the proposal is a step in the right direction. NCUA Board members should raise tough questions of agency staff at board meetings, which Gigi often did. 

Unless the President choses to make a recess appointment, which does not appear likely, whether the new NCUA Board member is a Republican or Democrat will be determined by the election.  Under the Federal Credit Union Act, no more than two members can be from the same party and theoretically the new appointee could be an independent. Gigi’s term ended In August 2011, meaning that depending on when the person takes office, they likely will only have a four-year term. However, since the term would not be a complete one, it is legally possible that the individual could be appointed for the remainder of the existing term and reappointed for a full six-year term.  

Who sits on the NCUA Board is extremely important for the credit union system and now more so than ever.  Credit unions deserve board members who will make regulatory relief a priority, assert appropriate controls over the examination staff and stand up for containing costs.  That has been CUNA’s message to the White House when we met earlier this year with the Deputy Chief of Staff Nancy DeParle and in meetings with Treasury and other policymakers. We will also be stressing those points throughout the confirmation process for the next board member.

Regarding Dave Marquis, he has helped set a tone and culture at the agency for a number of years. NCUA has indicated the decision as to his replacement will be made next month.  While NCUA may consider outside candidates, the new executive director is likely be to a current Regional Director; or someone who has served as deputy executive director, such as the Director of Examination and Insurance Larry Fazio or perhaps Mark Treichel who is an RD but has also been the deputy executive director.  We will keep you posted regarding the announcement of the new NCUA Executive Director.