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NCUA board back at full capacity as Senate confirms Harper and Hood

The United States Senate on Thursday confirmed Rodney Hood and Todd Harper to serve on the National Credit Union Administration board, bringing the panel to full capacity for the first time in nearly three years.

The pair testified before the Senate Banking Committee on Feb. 14 and were unanimously approved by the committee on Feb. 26. Both will commence their terms as soon as they are sworn in, NCUA said.

Both Hood and Harper have extensive experience in credit unions. Hood already has served on the NCUA board, having been appointed by then President George W. Bush and confirmed in 2005. He currently is the corporate responsibility manager at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Harper has been the director of public and congressional affairs and chief policy advisor to the chairman at NCUA.

Seats on the regulator’s board carry a six-year term, and the two new members step into seats that are already mid-term.

Hood will replace outgoing board member Rick Metsger, who stayed on well past the expiration of his term in 2017. Hood’s term will expire in 2023.

Harper will hold the seat vacated by Debbie Matz, the former board chair who retired in 2016. Harper’s term will expire in 2021.

McWatters’ term will expire in August of this year.

Accolades pouring in

Immediate reaction from the credit union industry late Thursday was relief that the federal credit union regulator will be at full strength for the first time since Matz’s departure in April 2016.

John McKechnie, a credit union consultant and a former staffer at both NCUA and the Credit Union National Association, said the board will be “new” but “at the same time an experienced and savvy board, more so than any other in NCUA’s history.”

“The fact that both Mr. Hood and Mr. Harper walk in the door with a familiarity and working knowledge of the agency means there will be no ramp-up; they will get to work right away, I sense,” McKechnie said in an email. “This combination with Chairman [Mark] McWatters should give credit unions optimism about the future regulation that will emerge from Duke Street.”

The regulator issued a statement in which McWatters welcomed his new colleagues.

“I congratulate Rodney Hood and Todd Harper, and I look forward to working with both of them in a collegial, bipartisan manner,” said McWatters. “In that same spirit, I would like to thank board member Rick Metsger for his more than five years of service to the agency, and for creating a true collaborative partnership that benefited the agency and the credit union community.”

Credit union trade groups also warmly welcomed the news.

“CUNA, leagues and credit unions congratulate Rodney Hood and Todd Harper for their confirmation as NCUA board members,” Jim Nussle, president and CEO of the Credit Union National Association, said in a statement. “We look forward to working with a full, three-person NCUA board on the issues most important to credit unions and their members. Both have impressive experience when it comes to working with not-for-profit financial cooperatives, and we are hopeful the new board will continue NCUA’s modernization efforts to ensure it remains an efficient, effective regulator.”

Dan Berger, president and CEO of the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions, also congratulated the pair, adding “Both possess a strong understanding of the industry, and with Chairman Mark McWatters, we are confident the board will continue to be a strong, independent regulator for credit unions.”

The National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors also weighed in, praising both new members and McWatters as possibly the "most qualified NCUA board in history."

“The newly constituted board bodes well not only for NCUA, but also for the broader credit union system," NASCUS President and CEO Lucy Ito said in a statement. "We congratulate Mr. Hood and Mr. Harper and look forward to continuing our positive working relationship with Chairman McWatters and to developing strong relationships with the new board members.”

NASCUS had advocated in the past that the NCUA board be expanded from three to five seats with the requirement that at least one seat be held by a member with experience as a state credit union regulator.

This story was updated at 9:55 P.M. on March 14, 2019.

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