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Fryzel makes case before Senate committee
Click to view larger image NCUA Board nominee Michael Fryzel before yesterday's Senate Banking Committee hearing on Capitol Hill. (Photo provided by CUNA)
WASHINGTON (6/4/08)—National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) nominee Michael Fryzel appeared before the Senate Banking Committee Tuesday to present his case for why he is a good choice for federal credit union regulator. Fryzel’s nomination hearing unfolded in a fairly routine manner, except for the number of other nominees--for other federal positions--that joined him on the panel of prospective government representatives. There were 10 individuals whose nominations were being considered by the banking panel simultaneously. However, the outcome of the nomination hearings may not prove to be routine. With time running out for his administration, President George W. Bush has been pushing the Senate since the beginning of the year to confirm close to 200 judicial and agency nominees, action that has in some cases been pending for many months. Withholding votes this year would allow the winner of the 2008 presidential election in November to choose new candidates. However, as noted by washingtonpost.com on Feb. 8, Senate Democrats blame Bush for the confirmation delay, charging that the President has refused to compromise on choices they consider extreme. It was unclear by press time whether the bottleneck had been sufficiently addressed to clear the way for the nominees’ endorsement by the Senate Banking Committee. In addition to Fryzel, those who have existed in a nomination limbo include three candidates for Federal Reserve Board governor and would-be director of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Steven Preston. Also, and likely the White House priority, are 28 designated judges who would have lifetime positions if confirmed. During his nomination hearing, Fryzel said his priority as a federal regulator would be oversight of the safety and soundness of credit unions. He said consumers not only place their money in credit unions, they also place their trust. Fryzel said he will work to protect the rights of consumers through such things as plain language disclosures, but underscored that credit unions “naturally gravitate toward giving consumers a fair deal." He said as NCUA chairman he would maintain a “healthy and dynamic, arms-length” relationship with the industry. If Fryzel’s nomination is approved, his name will then be sent to the full Senate for confirmation. Fryzel was recommended for the NCUA position last December by President Bush. If confirmed, he will replace JoAnn Johnson as chairman of the agency. Johnson's term expired in August 2007. She has been on the NCUA board since 2002 and has served as chairman since 2004. At the time of her successor’s nomination, Johnson made it clear that she would remain at the helm until a candidate made it successfully through the confirmation process. Fryzel is an Illinois real estate lawyer and was with the state's Department of Financial Institution from 1977 to 1989, heading the agency from 1982 to 1989. Upon leaving that position, Fryzel founded his private law practice, the Law Offices of Michael Fryzel, which specializes in financial regulatory and real estate law.


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