March 13, 2014

McWatters on risk-based capital: 'Devil is in the details'

March 14, 2014 – Testifying before the Senate Banking Committee on his nomination to the NCUA Board, Mark McWatters said Thursday that he is committed to looking closely at the agency's risk-based capital proposal, adding "the devil is in the details."

McWatters was responding to a question from committee Chairman Tim Johnson, D-S.D., about future challenges for the credit union industry. He also said credit unions should continue doing what they are already doing and suggested that there is an opportunity for low-income designated credit unions to expand their mandate and serve more underbanked and unbanked consumers.

McWatters also said the overregulation of small credit unions is a potential problem and that "more work needs to be done." He said that as a board member, he would look into the issue more.

In his testimony, McWatters said, "I am convinced that regulators should remain mindful that the root causes of seemingly intractable problems are often embedded not in the esoteric, but in the commonplace. As such, my focus as a regulator will remain straightforward: Don't neglect the fundamentals of capital, liquidity, and transparency, and always remember that the greatest threat to a financial system may reside where you least expect it—hidden within plain view."

McWatters also spoke about his experience on the Troubled Asset Relief Program Congressional Oversight Panel with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and how he focused on balancing difference perspectives in order to reach a consensus.

If he is confirmed by the Senate, McWatters' term on the agency board would continue through Aug. 2, 2019. He will assume the seat of NCUA Board member Michael Fryzel, whose term expired Aug. 2.