ALEXANDRIA, Va. — NCUA Board Member J. Mark McWatters recently had some sharp words for the CU regulator.

"NCUA should not treat members of the credit union community as Victorian era children—speak when you're spoken to and otherwise mind your manners and go off with your nanny," McWatters told the Pennsylvania CU Association's annual meeting in Hershey last week.

The agency "should, instead, renounce its imperious 'my-way-or–the-highway' approach and actively solicit input from the community on NCUA's budget and the budgetary process," he added.

McWatters has been very vocal in his support of bipartisan legislation in Congress that would require NCUA to hold public budget hearings.

"I champion the right of the regulated to speak to the regulator on the record regarding the expenditure of their limited resources," McWatters said. Rather than such hearings being "dog and pony shows," he said, public hearings are "simply a matter of respect and professionalism evidenced through the lens of transparency and full accountability."

While McWatters and both CU trade associations have publicly supported such legislation, a NCUA spokesman said earlier this year that Chairman Debbie Matz "strongly opposes the bill," as it would undermine the independence of the agency and lead to regulatory capture.

"No other financial institutions regulator is subject to an annual budget hearing requirement or conducts such a hearing," the spokesman said.

McWatters was also the lone dissenting board vote against passing the current NCUA budget.

Acknowledging Matz and Board Vice Chairman Rick Metsger oppose public budget hearings, McWatters said that "it seems that some expect masses of credit union community members to charge the NCUA ramparts with pitchforks and flaming torches to free themselves from regulatory serfdom. I, conversely, welcome all comments and criticism from the community."

Responding to McWatters’ most recent criticism, Matz said in a statement: “Professor McWatters would be better served by stepping down from his ivory tower and working with his NCUA Board colleagues to make policy rather than make headlines.”

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