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Metsger: CUs, NCUA Can Work Toward 'Bigger, Faster, Stronger' System
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (10/16/13)--While he is working to get up to pace on issues his National Credit Union Administration colleagues have been discussing for months, if not years, new agency board member Richard Metsger gave News Now a window into how he plans to address credit union issues going forward: Regulation, he said, can be a collaborative process between credit unions and the NCUA.

Click to view larger image National Credit Union Administration Board Member Richard Metsger told News Now that being a "Monday morning quarterback" never changes the outcome of the game, but can be a good tool for avoiding future mistakes. A focus of the NCUA continues to be evaluating what went wrong leading up to the financial crisis of 2008, and learning how to avoid a similar situation going forward, he said. (CUNA Photo)
Metsger does not see the regulatory process as "adversarial," he said. Rather he sees it "as cooperative, but [with] distinctively different perspectives in some cases."

He invited credit unions to reach out to the NCUA board and engage in a thoughtful manner. "Standing on one end of the room and yelling at someone else seldom produces any results," he said, noting his past work as an Oregon state senator has shown that a collaborative approach can benefit all parties. The NCUA needs "the experience and the expertise of the regulated community, but we don't need sound bites. What we do need is information and facts so we can make informed decisions," he said.

Metsger emphasized that his experience with credit unions, which has come over many years from a number of different angles, will be a boon to the NCUA and credit unions alike. One such angle is his work as a member of the board of directors at Portland Teachers CU from 1993 to 2001. He dealt directly with compliance and budget issues during that time.

"The backbone of the credit union system has been small credit unions," Metsger said.  That's where it all started, and Metsger touted his understanding of how they differentiate from the larger credit unions in the system.

For now, Metsger said the agency is concerned with making sure credit unions are adequately capitalized, prepared for potential interest rate shocks, avoid concentration of risk on balance sheets, and look to see how the increasing threat of cyberattacks on credit unions and other financial institutions can be mitigated. "We don't want to be the vulnerable party," he emphasized.

In the long-term, he hopes to focus on the safety and soundness of the system. Overall, a strong, safe, sound credit union system is the mutual goal of the regulator and the regulated, and while both sides have different opinions, credit unions and the NCUA can listen to each other and work carefully to address shared concerns, he said. And, in the end, a "bigger, faster, stronger" credit union system is the goal.


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