The CUInsight Experience podcast: Todd Harper – F.I.R.E. philosophy (#106)

“Be safe, be well, be kind!” - Chairman Todd Harper

Thank you for tuning in to episode 106 of The CUInsight Experience podcast, with your host, Randy Smith, co-founder of This episode is brought to you by our friends at PSCU. As the nation’s premier payments CUSO, PSCU proudly supports the success of more than 1,500 credit unions.

My guest on today’s show is The Honorable Todd M. Harper, Chairman of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). Chairman Harper was recently appointed to lead the NCUA Board by President Biden. We talked about what it was like when he got the nod to lead the NCUA personally, his journey to getting there, and what he wanted to be when he grew up. We also had a great conversation on the importance of DEI in credit unions.

Chairman Harper shares his F.I.R.E. philosophy on credit union regulation, what the NCUA will focus on in the next twelve months, and the first place people should start when getting ready to have the DEI conversation. Chairman Harper also talks about how he keeps up with the pace of change in the credit union space.

Chairman Harper has been lucky to have some great friends in his life, and he talks about the ones that have shaped him into who he is today. He also discusses how networking, being kind, and confident can lead you up the ranks when you are looking for a promotion. He tells us how he stays true to his purpose in his personal life and his career.

In the rapid-fire questions, we learn what Chairman Harper was like in high school and how he likes to recharge. Who was the first person who came to mind when Chairman Harper hears the word success? You’ll have to listen to find out. This was a great conversation and I can’t wait to do it again. Enjoy!


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Books mentioned on The CUInsight Experience podcast: Book List 

How to find Chairman Todd Harper:
The Honorable Todd Harper, Chairman of the NCUA
LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube 


Show notes from this episode:
A big shout-out to our friends at PSCU, an amazing sponsor of The CUInsight Experience podcast. Thank you!
If you are interested in taking the Diversity Self Assessment, click here.
Chairman Harper’s remarks at the 2021 CUNA GAC are available now.
Check out what Chairman Harper and his team are doing at the NCUA to assist Credit Unions, including the Share Insurance Fund, by clicking here!
To learn more about the NCUA Office of Business Innovation, click here.
To learn more about the NCUA Office of National Examinations and Supervision, click here.
Shout out: Catherine Galicia
Shout out: Chuck, former Chief of Staff on Capitol Hill
Shout out: Mike Fryzel
Shout out: Mike Radway
Shout out: Rick Metsger
Shout out: John McKechnie
Shout out: Paul Kanjorksi, Kanjorski Scholarship
Shout out: Debbie Matz
Shout out: Mary Schapiro
Shout out: Pat Montebono, Chairman Harper’s Math Teacher
Shout out: Antonio Neves
Shout out: JT
Shout out: Pat and Lorraine
Shout out: Indiana University
Shout out: Jim Hayden
Shout out: CULCT
Shout out: Diana Dykstra
Shout out: Jill Nowacki
Shout out: Brian Schools, Chartway FCU
Shout out: Paw Paws USA
Book mentioned: Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations by Thomas Friedman
Book mentioned:The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy by Thomas J. Stanley & William D. Danko
Book mentioned: The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein
Book mentioned: The Devil in the White City:  Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair by Erik Larson
Book mentioned: The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson
Book mentioned: StrengthsFinders 2.0 by Tom Rath
Book mentioned: Leadership Without Easy Answers by Ronald A. Heifetz
Album mentioned: The Police: Ghost in the Machine
Song mentioned: RESPECT by Aretha Franklin
Album mentioned: Queen’s Greatest Hits
Album mentioned: Immaculate Collection by Madonna
Album mentioned: Tracy Chapman by Tracy Chapman
Album mentioned: Faith by George Michael
Previous guests mentioned in this episode: Diana Dykstra (16), Jill Nowacki (episodes 4, 18, 37, 64, 82 & 101


In This Episode:
[02:30] – Welcome to the show, Chairman Harper!
[02:59] – What did you feel like when you got the position as Chairman of the NCUA?
[05:36] – Chairman Harper shares his philosophy on regulation in the credit union space.
[07:37] – Chairman Harper discusses what the NCUA will focus on around credit unions in the next 12 months.[10:35] – The first place people should start when starting the DEI conversation is by taking the Diversity Self Assessment and
[12:53] – How do you keep pace with the changes happening in the space?
[16:58] – Chairman Harper shares which in his life helped shape who he is.
[19:19] – Chairman Harper is lucky to have some very good friends in his life.
[20:50] – Did you start out knowing you were going to be in public service? Government?
[23:23] – Chairman Harper speaks about the inspiration to take a position with the NCUA.
[24:46] – Chairman Harper shares how the inspiration has changed with the new titles.
[28:27] – Chairman Harper discusses that networking and being kind is what a person can do to move up through the ranks.
[30:02] – How do you stay true to your purpose in your personal life and in your career?
[31:01] – Chairman Harper shares what he used to do that he doesn’t do anymore.
[32:23] – You have to be strong is a myth about leadership that Chairman Harper wants to debunk.
[34:43] – Chairman Harper keeps his weekends free, and he takes a long vacation each year, but also he hangs out with friends to recharge.
[36:27] – Chairman Harper talks about what he said no to, that he is so glad he did.
[37:40] – Chairman Harper speaks about what he was like in high school and whether he ever got into memorable trouble.
[40:11] – What book do you think everyone should read?
[44:15] – What is the greatest song of all time?
[45:50] – Chairman Harper’s mom is who he thinks about when he hears the word success.
[48:12] – Chairman Harper’s final thoughts for the listeners.
[48:37] – Thank you for being on the show!

Randall Smith

Randall Smith

Randall Smith is the co-founder of, the host of The CUInsight Experience podcast, and a bit of a wanderlust. As one of the co-founders of CUInsight he looks ... Web: Details