December 10, 2021

Harper talks NCUA 2022 outlook, priorities for CUs, more at WHF event

NCUAThe Women in Housing and Finance (WHF) Thursday held a public policy lunch on financial institutions regulation, with featured speaker NCUA Chairman Todd Harper. NAFCU Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Ann Kossachev attended the event where Harper discussed several topics including priorities and opportunities for the NCUA, as well as future risks financial institutions should look out for.

During his remarks, Harper expressed several concerns within the financial institution industry, specifically regarding cybersecurity within the credit union system. Harper noted that many financial institutions have become reliant on the cloud system, ​posing greater risks for credit unions that do not have the resources to support such complex cyber protocols. The NCUA recently looked at cybersecurity examination trends in October, sharing the agency’s InTREX-CU exam, modeled after cybersecurity examination procedures adopted by other federal regulators. More info can be found in NAFCU’s latest Economic & CU Monitor

Harper ​highlighted several concerns on the economic outlook in the aftermath of the pandemic, noting that with the large growth of credit unions since the financial crisis, any failure of those credit unions could drastically impact the share insurance fund (SIF), on which the NCUA has sought greater flexibility. NAFCU has been advocating against the NCUA’s efforts to potentially charge credit unions a National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) premium and has instead called for additional investment authorities.

On examining the NCUA’s outlook and priorities for the coming year, Harper mentioned that the agency hopes to take a closer look at fintech, climate risk, succession planning – given that 40 percent of credit union CEOs and managers are eligible for retirement – as well as helping guide credit unions through the continued effects of the pandemic crisis. 

Regarding legislative priorities, Harper stated that Congress should make permanent enhancements to the Central Liquidity Facility (CLF) made by the CARES Act, a NAFCU-backed request. Both the NCUA Board and NAFCU Vice President of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler wrote letters to Congress urging to make these important changes permanent, highlighting how credit unions have stepped up to help their communities. Harper also expressed that vendor authority is a ​blind spot for the credit union system given that the NCUA and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) are the only two regulators without vendor authority. Harper also hopes to allow credit unions to add underserved areas to their fields of memberships, another NAFCU-supported initiative.

In addition, Harper discussed the NCUA’s draft budget for 2022-2023, justifying why it has increased. Kossachev Wednesday participated in the agency’s public budget hearing and sent a letter outlining shared credit union concerns and recommendations on how to tailor the budget to be more cost-effective. 

WHF is a nonpartisan association that promotes its members in the fields of housing and financial services, offering programs and opportunities in housing, financial services, professional enrichment, and leadership enhancement. NAFCU remains engaged with organizations like WHF to remain up to date on ways to help credit unions better serve their industry.