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McWatters Has Sharp Words for NCUA
Wednesday, May 20, 2015 6:25 AM

NCUA Board Member J. Mark McWatters recently had some sharp words for the CU regulator while attending the Pennsylvania CU Association's annual meeting in Hershey last week.

"NCUA should not treat members of the credit union community as Victorian-era children—speak when you're spoken to and otherwise mind your manners and go off with your nanny," McWatters said, adding that the agency should renounce its imperious "my way or the highway" approach and actively solicit input from the community on NCUA's budget and the budgetary process.

McWatters said he champions the right of the regulated to speak on the record regarding the expenditure of their limited resources. Rather than such hearings being dog-and-pony shows, he said public hearings are a matter of respect and professionalism evidenced through the lens of transparency and full accountability.

McWatters has been very vocal in his support of bipartisan legislation in Congress that would require NCUA to hold public budget hearings that both CU trade associations have publicly supported.

An NCUA spokesman said earlier this year that Chairman Debbie Matz strongly opposes the bill. "No other financial institutions regulator is subject to an annual budget hearing requirement or conducts such a hearing," the spokesman said.

McWatters was also the lone dissenting board vote against passing the current NCUA budget.

Acknowledging Matz and Board Vice Chairman Rick Metsger oppose public budget hearings, McWatters said, "it seems that some expect masses of credit union community members to charge the NCUA ramparts with pitchforks and flaming torches to free themselves from regulatory serfdom. I, conversely, welcome all comments and criticism from the community."