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NCUA's Vice Chair Metsger Emphasizes Need to Hear from CUs
Friday, September 11, 2015 7:00 AM

Rick Metsger

During yesterday morning's Leadership Conference general session, Dick Ensweiler opened up by acknowledging the Credit Unions Care campaign efforts and recognized special guests, including Vik Vad from the Texas Credit Union Commission and 12 SICREDI young executives who will be working with San Antonio credit unions during the next two weeks. And then came the featured speaker, National Credit Union Administration Vice Chairman Rick Metsger.

Metsger noted the legendary football rivalry between Oklahoma and Texas. With that level of competitiveness, he was impressed that Oklahomans and Texans had come together under the Cornerstone umbrella for the greater good of the credit union movement. 

Metsger cited the mission of the Credit Union Act, to "promote thrift among your members and provide money for provident purposes for your members. Those are the principles that create a difference between credit unions and other financial institutions." That mission is what they're fulfilling at NCUA, he said, and what his focus has been.

One thing he's noticed about Washington, he told the audience, is that everything is bureaucracy that requires months and months of paperwork.

"What’s really important to me is hearing from you," Metsger said. "I’ve been in your shoes. I know what your arguments are, what your challenges are; but to make good public policy, I need to know that what we do impacts what you do each and every day."

He described how he looks at his job at NCUA. The first priority of his philosophy is "Do no harm." Then he asks, "What we can do to protect our responsibility—the safety and soundness of the system?"

"I believe safety and soundness is not just saying what you can’t do, not just preventing you from getting too far from the edge of the envelope," he said. "Lending is risky. We expect you to have losses, but you have to mitigate those losses. If you tell me you’ve never had any losses, I’m going to send my fraud team to your credit union."

To protect the Share Insurance Fund, Metsger said he needs to make sure credit unions have all the tools available within the law to offer services to credit union members. "In the next two years," he said, "we hope to complete member business lending expansion and field of membership growth."