McWatters: NCUA budget hearings would promote transparency, accountability

ALEXANDRIA, VA (May 18, 2015) — Public hearings on the National Credit Union Administration’s annual budget would lead to greater transparency and accountability, Board Member J. Mark McWatters said Friday.

“I champion the right of the regulated to speak to the regulator on the record regarding the expenditure of their limited resources,” McWatters said. “I reject the notion that budget hearings would merely constitute ‘dog and pony shows’ as a deeply cynical and flawed view. Speaking for myself, I would be honored to listen to and thoughtfully consider comments of the community on the budget and budgetary process. It’s simply a matter of respect and professionalism evidenced through the lens of transparency and full accountability.”

McWatters made his remarks in a keynote address to an audience of 350 credit union officials at the Pennsylvania Credit Union’s Annual Meeting in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

McWatters said he supports bipartisan legislation pending in both the Senate and the House that would require NCUA to hold public hearings (HR. 2287, S.924).

“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—but should, instead, 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. “With the strong visceral response within the agency against budget hearings, 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.”

“Regulatory wisdom is not metaphysically bestowed upon an NCUA board member once the gavel falls on his or her Senate confirmation,” McWatters said. “NCUA should not, accordingly, pretend that it’s a modern day Oracle of Delphi where all insight of the credit union community begins once you enter the doors at 1775 Duke Street in Alexandria, Virginia.”

The event concluded with a robust discussion on the need for a due process independent examination appeals procedure.

NCUA is the independent federal agency created by the U.S. Congress to regulate, charter and supervise federal credit unions. With the backing of the full faith and credit of the United States, NCUA operates and manages the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, insuring the deposits of more than 99 million account holders in all federal credit unions and the overwhelming majority of state-chartered credit unions. At and Pocket Cents, NCUA also educates the public on consumer protection and financial literacy issues.


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