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Matz Highlights Regulatory Reset and Relevance of Credit Unions
Thursday, February 25, 2016 6:35 AM

NCUA Chairman Challenges Credit Union Leadership to Be Ready for the Future

The credit union system weathered a crisis, built a recovery and now must keep pace with a changing society, National Credit Union Administration Board Chairman Debbie Matz said Tuesday.

Speaking to nearly 5,000 attendees at the Credit Union National Association’s annual Governmental Affairs Conference, Matz described how NCUA worked to prevent the credit union system from failing and, once the crisis had passed, to modernize regulations and remove barriers to help credit unions better serve members and their communities. The full text of Chairman Matz’s address is available online here.

“It’s amazing how far we’ve come,” Matz said. “Once we built this modern regulatory framework and put the crisis behind us, a top priority became making it easier for you to do business. We needed to change our culture to reset the default switch to ‘yes.’”

Regulatory Relief: Resetting the Default Switch

Matz reviewed the successes of the Year of Regulatory Relief in 2015 and said NCUA’s top priority has been making it easier for credit unions to do business.

“You asked us to remove the fixed-assets limit, so yes, we did,” Matz said. “You asked us to remove member-business lending limits not required by law, so yes, we did. You asked us to expand the definition of ‘small credit union,’ so yes, we did.”

“Later this year, we’ll modernize our field-of-membership rule for federal credit unions,” Matz said. “This will provide flexibility to serve Americans from all walks of life who need affordable financial services. I’m also pleased to tell you NCUA recently signed an agreement with the U.S. Treasury Department to give hundreds more credit unions access to the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, which provides multi-million-dollar grants to serve economically distressed communities."

Serving Millennials and Creating Futures

“For each of us to do our jobs, we must all stay ahead of the curve,” Matz said. “Making millennials into members, keeping pace with evolving technology and adopting strong cybersecurity measures will determine the future of your credit union.”

Matz said millennials—Americans who came of age in the year 2000—now outnumber Baby Boomers and are projected to inherit $30 trillion from their parents, the greatest generational transfer of wealth in history. That, she said, presents challenges and opportunities, and she posed several key questions for credit union leaders:

•How will your credit union target marketing to younger consumers who will become your future borrowers?

•What changes will you need to make in your credit union’s approach to member services, and who will advise you on those decisions?

•In an age of ever-increasing cyber threats, how will you keep your valuable member data safe?

Work Worth Doing

As credit unions face changes and challenges ahead, their tradition of service will ensure their significance to their members and communities, Matz said.

“Making a difference in people’s lives is what credit union service is all about,” Matz said. “The credit union values you promote—cooperation, community, entrepreneurship and ‘people helping people’—really are America’s values. People have a common desire to improve their lives and build stronger communities. Credit unions make this possible.

“If you transform your credit union to serve the next generation and if you meet them where they are and serve their unique needs, your credit union will still matter,” Matz said.

View more from Matz at the NCUA Newsroom.