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NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz Remarks at NAFCU Annual Conference "Growing Together"

Thank you.  I always look forward to participating in NAFCU’s Annual Conference.  It’s one of the best meetings in the credit union industry, for learning, for networking, and for the wonderful venues.

Before I begin, I want to thank Fred Becker and his talented staff, especially Dan Berger and Carrie Hunt.  When they contact me or my staff, which is often, they can be counted upon to raise important issues and propose creative solutions to improve the regulatory environment for credit unions.
But for me, the best part about NAFCU meetings is the opportunity to talk with NAFCU members.  I always learn so much from you about the issues that are important to your credit unions.
So Fred never has to ask me twice to speak at this conference.  And when I heard we would be together in Nashville, I was reminded of a country song – the Rodney Adkins song, which is built on a quote from Winston Churchill: “If you’re going through hell, keep on going.”
That sounds a lot like what the credit union industry has done for the past few years.  So it’s fitting that your award winners are being recognized today for just that.
I think what John Tippets did with North Island Financial Credit Union is both a metaphor and a template for where we stand – and how to move forward. 
Two-and-a-half years ago, the credit union system teetered on the brink of collapse.  We had only begun to sort out our options for overcoming the crisis facing the corporate system.  At the same time, we were confronting hundreds of CAMEL code 4 and 5 credit unions, 14 of which were over $1 billion.  I was told several of these might not survive.
North Island was one of the credit unions on the brink of failure.  I was told that there was virtually no way that North Island would make it as a stand-alone credit union.  But John and his board were not willing to give up.  There were a lot of late nights, and a lot of tough choices.
John, you opened an ongoing dialog with NCUA on the status of your credit union and shared the strategic options that you and your board were considering.  You were able to pull North Island back from the brink, and lead a historic turnaround.  And, you willingly came out of retirement to accept this enormous challenge...