Hauptman: NCUA Must Make It Easier to Form a Credit Union

The National Credit Union Administration must make it easier for groups to form new credit unions and should stop encouraging small, struggling credit unions to merge, NCUA board Vice Chairman Kyle Hauptman said Wednesday.

“The American people should decide how many credit unions there are, not the NCUA,” Hauptman said at the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions’ Congressional Caucus.

Hauptman and board member Rodney Hood have said that the agency should adopt policies to help groups that want to start credit unions. Hauptman said, for instance, the NCUA’s website does not feature a section providing information about starting a credit union. “If we make it hard to start one, we shouldn’t talk about inclusion,” he said.

He also said that when the agency finds that a small credit union is struggling, the agency often encourages that institution to merge with another institution. Instead, Hauptman said, the agency should find ways to keep that credit union in business.

Hauptman urged NAFCU members to respond to the NCUA’s request for information about how the credit union industry can deal with fintechs. The deadline for submitting comments is due on Sept. 27. “We don’t want to have a fight between legacy credit unions and fintechs,” Hauptman said.

He added, “We don’t want you to lose wallet-share…because your regulatory agency was slow.”

Hauptman also said that the NCUA should take a hard look at its budget. “Other people are managing to do more with less,” he said, adding that every vacancy at the agency does not necessarily need to be filled. “We shouldn’t have to rely on pandemics to reduce our budget,” he said.

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