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NCUA takes additional steps in DEI efforts

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The National Credit Union Administration has created a new Culture, Diversity and Inclusion Council, a move that's part of its continuing focus on diveristy within the industry.

The council was first announced at the credit union regulator’s inaugural Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit in November. It is composed of 18 NCUA employees, the regulator said on Tuesday.

“For the NCUA to carry out its mission effectively, every staff member should be respected, and diversity and inclusion should be truly fostered,” NCUA Chairman Rodney Hood said in a statement. “Providing a safe and sound system of cooperative credit is an honorable calling. I want the NCUA to have a work environment where every employee can bring their true and authentic selves to work each and every day.”

One of the council’s first priorities is conducting an agency-wide study of the NCUA’s organizational culture to identify areas in need of improvement. The target date of the survey is still in the works.

According to an NCUA spokesperson, the council will focus on issues of inclusion at the agency and will serve in an advisory and policy-making role.

In the past year the credit union regulator has made strides in increasing diversity within its own workforce. Forty-five percent of NCUA's new hires in 2019 were women and about 37% were minorities, according to the regulator’s 2019 Office of Minority and Women Inclusion Annual Report. NCUA also increased the percentage of both women and minorities in senior staff positions in 2019, according to the report.

Still, the agency has a lot of work to do to promote diversity and inclusion within the industry.

Only 118 federally insured credit unions responded to the NCUA's Credit Union Diversity Self Assessment in 2019, up from 81 responses the year prior. That means that the 2019 response rate was just 2% of the credit union industry.

Still, NCUA hopes to remedy the low response rates by providing more opportunities for credit unions to engage in diversity, equity and inclusion issues through events, though those plans could be effected now because of the coronavirus’ social distancing measures.

“Fostering the NCUA’s culture is not an endpoint. Instead, it is an ongoing process, and it is made up of taking the right steps to meet challenges and respond to a changing environment on a continuous basis," Hood said. "The NCUA Board and the entire leadership team are all committed to creating and maintaining an inclusive culture where every employee feels valued and respected.”

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