WASHINGTON–The two nominees for positions on the NCUA board told a Senate hearing of their commitment to safety and soundness of credit unions and the insurance fund, while also offering thoughts on what will guide their regulatory philosophies.
For the first time in history, both nominees for the NCUA board–Todd Harper, the Democratic nominee, and Rodney Hood, the Republican nominee–have previously worked for NCUA, with Hood having previously served as a board member 2005-10, and Harper having served as director of Public and Congressional Affairs and as chief policy advisor to the chairman from 2011 to 2017.
The two nominees for the NCUA board were given their nomination hearing here before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, chaired by Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID). If approved, Hood’s term would run through 2023. Harper’s term would run through April 2021.
Todd Harper Testimony
In his testimony, Harper cited his nearly 25 years of government experience primarily working for Congress on financial services matters and at the NCUA, and said he has a “broad knowledge of financial services regulatory matters and a deep understanding of the many policy issues facing the $1.4-trillion credit union system and its 115.4 million members.”
Harper said his commitment to public service began with his parents, both of whom were educators, with his mother president of the teacher’s union and his father superintendent of schools.
“One was a Democrat and the other a Republican, yet during negotiations they would work together to reach the best possible deal for both sides,” said Harper. “I have carried their leadership lessons with me throughout my career. As a result, I have skillfully solved complex problems, reached bipartisan consensus where possible, and bridged differences between business and government to produce results.”
Harper also cited his role as a senior advisor to former Congressman Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) and his work on the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises. “In these roles, I worked on every major financial services law from the enactment of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act in 1999 through the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010,” he told the committee. “Most notable, however, is my long track record of working on credit union issues, which began when Congress considered and passed the Credit Union Membership Access Act. Introduced by Congressman Kanjorski and Congressman Steve LaTourette of Ohio, the bipartisan law responded to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that threatened the long-term viability of thousands of credit unions.”
Worked on CURIA, TCCUSF
Harper said he led efforts to draft the first version of the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act of 2003, and said he later worked to convene the first congressional hearing to explore the creation of a Temporary Corporate Credit Union Stabilization Fund. He said he was also involved in work to create the Corporate Stabilization Fund and the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund.
“My professional experiences have also informed my regulatory philosophy,” said Harper. “In my view, financial regulators need to be fair and forward looking; innovative, inclusive, and independent; risk focused and ready to act expeditiously when necessary; and appropriately engaged with all stakeholders to develop effective, but not excessive, regulation.”
Harper said it is the job of an NCUA board member to be informed, ask tough questions, and make impartial judgments that balance competing viewpoints in a transparent manner, and that his first and foremost priority would be to safeguard the safety and soundness of the credit union system and the share insurance fund.
Areas of Focus
“If confirmed, I would focus on the issues of capital, liquidity, and cybersecurity. I would also prioritize the agency’s consumer protection responsibilities, consistent with the law,” said Harper.n“By law, the credit union system has a mission to promote thrift and serve people of modest means. As such, if confirmed, I would work diligently with my NCUA board colleagues to foster an environment that supports small credit unions, minority depository institutions, and low-income credit unions, which face the challenges of increased competition, limited resources, and difficulties in achieving economies of scale. Additionally, I am committed to increasing access to financial services for both the unbanked and the underbanked. This, too, would be a priority for my work.”
Rodney Hood’s Testimony
Hood thanked his deceased parents for giving him a strong value system he said encom-passes humility, integrity, hard work and compassion, and said that through his education and work experiences has developed and nurtured a broad knowledge of the financial services industry and have a keen understanding of the tremendous responsibilities of regulators.
“I also recognize credit unions play a critical role in helping families achieve the American dream of homeownership, assisting entrepreneurs in creating small businesses, and providing the trusted affordable and essential financial services so families can save for the future,” said Hood. “I look forward to returning to NCUA and fulfilling the duties and responsibilities of a board member. My paramount responsibility will be ensuring the safe and sound operation of federally insured credit unions. Additional responsibilities will include ensuring that NCUA thoroughly applies all relevant consumer protections, creates opportunities to promote financial education and financial inclusion, and fosters an environment where low-to-moderate income and disabled individuals have access to affordable financial services.”
Hood said that during his first term on the board a decade ago his regulatory philosophy was, and still remains, that regulation needs to be effective, but not excessive.
“One of my lasting accomplishments from my previous term at NCUA was the launch of Enterprise Risk Management Summits that provided training sessions to credit unions on how to mitigate and manage risks,” said Hood. “Working in collaboration with regulators from the Federal Reserve, OCC, FDIC, Federal Home Loan Banks and National Economic Council, I hosted sessions with subject matter experts and credit union leaders that addressed risk areas such as liquidity, interest rate and concentration. It was through my efforts that today Enterprise Risk Management is embedded in the Agency’s supervisory and examination process.”
Lessons from Missionary Work
Hood said his interest in serving vulnerable communities grew from my volunteer work as a missionary in Africa and later as a banker engaged in community development.
“I have heard it said, ‘The true measure of compassion is more than good intentions, it is good results.’ I have been blessed and fortunate to spend over 25-years working with some of the country’s most respected financial institutions that sought to empower economic stability and shared prosperity in our local communities,” said Hood, pointing to his roles at North Carolina Mutual and Wells Fargo where he said he was able to promote community development and outreach initiatives to underserved communities.
Hood also pointed to his work as a Community Reinvestment Act Officer at Bank of America.
“My current work in the Corporate Responsibility Group at JPMorgan Chase provides me with opportunities to manage national partnerships with nonprofit organizations such as the NAACP, National Urban League, NeighborWorks America, National Disability Institute and RespectAbility in promoting financial inclusion and shared prosperity in underserved communities,” said Hood. “I also work with regulators from the OCC, FDIC, Federal Reserve, and CFPB in hosting Financial Inclusion Summits for the disabled community. These experiences directly exposed me to the importance of regulatory review, financial soundness, and risk management.”
Hood said his experiences in the private and public sectors have provided him with leadership opportunities and have taught him valuable lessons about responsibility, accountability and transparency.
If confirmed by the Senate, Hood said he will return to the NCUA with a risk-based and market-oriented mindset based on the following tenets:
- “I will work to ensure that credit unions remain safe and sound institutions.”
- “Second, I will strive to be recognized as a fair and thoughtful regulator – one who realizes the value and necessity of regulation while also being cognizant of the impact of excessive regulation.”
- “Third, I will bring focused leadership and management to the NCUA while seeking to ensure efficient operations and prudent use of resources.”
- “Fourth, and finally, understand the importance of disclosure and transparency and will work closely with the Members of this Committee, and all members of Congress, to ensure the financial integrity of credit unions in an ever-changing and dynamic environment.”