If the National Credit Union Administration is serious about diversity, equity, and inclusion, it must make it easier for groups to gain charters to start credit unions, NCUA board Vice Chairman Kyle Hauptman said Tuesday.
Speaking at a seminar sponsored by the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute, Hauptman said it is unfair that a group may spend years winding its way through the chartering process, “and all you get is a small non-profit.” He did not make any suggestions for speeding up the process.
The CEI held the session to foster discussion about a consumer law task force report that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released last year. The task force report pushed free market competition, rather than regulation. Critics of the task force report charged that the group consisted of people who oppose a strict regulatory regime and even opposed the existence of the agency.
During Tuesday’s session, task force Chairman Todd Zywicki said the task force report was “not just sort of a Trump thing.” However, if the early days of the Biden Administration are any indication, the report is likely going to be treated like it is and ignored.
John Berlau, a senior fellow at CEI, said that the NCUA may have a better chance of adopting some of the task force’s recommendations, since the board is still controlled by two Republicans. He added, however, that even those efforts may be hampered by the need for the NCUA to work with other regulators, many of whom are Biden Administration appointees.
Hauptman said he hopes the report does not just sit on a shelf, adding that it does push policies that would make it easier to establish new banks and credit unions. He said that there are several groups that are currently exploring charters at the NCUA, including a group of formerly incarcerated people who would like to start a credit union and a couple of Historically Black Colleges and Universities that also are investigating the idea.
Hauptman said he is a strong believer of letting the free market work. “The best consumer protection is to have a better choice,” he added.
The NCUA last week announced it was issuing its first charter this year to the Maun Federal Credit Union in Kendall Park, N.J. to serve a local Islamic community. The credit union expects to open in June.