WASHINGTON — A petition has been launched to press the White House to change the way people are nominated for the NCUA board, and it now has 30 days to reach 100,000 signatures in order to get a response from the administration.
The petition drive, at petition.whitehouse.gov, is being led by Chip Filson, president of Callahan & Associates, who is pushing for a nomination process that will focus on the "cooperative principles" of credit unions. At a press conference prior to the launch of CUNA's GAC here, Filson, who announced his own candidacy for the NCUA board under his proposed process for nominations, said his goals are threefold: to put the cooperative principles at the center of how decisions are made at NCUA; to provide every credit union stakeholder an opportunity to participate in the process (including CU members), and to provide a framework or vision for how a cooperative regulator performs in the 21st century.
When asked if he is suggesting that NCUA has not acted in accordance with the cooperative principles, Filson, who was a principle at the agency in the early 1980s, said, "I think there is widespread concern among credit unions for the way the NCUA board has acted for the past four or five years. I think there is a feeling that not only are we out of alignment, we are not responding to the opportunities that credit unions have to make their impact more widely known. During the financial crisis CUs originated billions of dollars during the peak financial crisis. You wouldn't know that from what NCUA has said."
A petition to the White House requires 150 signatures before it is public; it had more than 175 as of this morning. Once a petition goes public it has 30 days to get 100,000 signatures before the White House provides a formal response. The NCUA board currently has one vacancy; board member Michael Fryzel's term will expire in August. NCUA board appointments are typically politically driven, with the president's party at the time of nomination holding two of the three seats. Filson wants the White House to nominate candidates who also are dedicated to those cooperative principles when making nominations.
"If we can get the grassroots involved in this it will not only increase the visibility of the process, it will demonstrate once again how credit unions are different," said Filson.
More information is available at www.coops4change.org.