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Remarks of NCUA Board Chairman Debbie Matz at the 46th Annual Conference of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions

Thank you for having me here today on this momentous occasion—Fred Becker’s farewell to NAFCU.  I wish Fred all the best on his retirement and congratulate him on his outstanding service to the credit union industry.

Fred will be hard to replace—like the man who was shot out of the cannon at the circus.  Upon his retirement his colleagues said, “It’s sure going to be hard to find another man of his caliber.”

Actually, I shouldn’t make artillery jokes, because as you know, Fred is a Navy man.  Over the past decade, Fred has helped the industry navigate some treacherous waters.  We may not have always agreed on the best course.  But we have always agreed on the best destination:  a safe and sound credit union industry, overseen by a fair regulator, reinforced by a strong Share Insurance Fund.

We have always had open lines of communication, which, of course, will continue with Dan Berger.  Dan is a proven leader and an effective champion for credit unions on Capitol Hill.  In fact, if you see Members of the House or Senate with bent ears, Dan probably did the bending.  I know that Dan’s knowledge of policy and politics will serve you well in the years ahead.

Before we look forward to the years ahead, it’s worth looking back at where we’ve been. Visiting with NAFCU, I’m always reminded that my last speech as a Board member of NCUA in 2005 and my first speech upon becoming Chairman in 2009 were to you.

When we look back to 2009, not all that long ago, it’s impossible to forget the crisis we were facing.  NCUA had to do some things that were previously unthinkable:

  • We had to conserve the two largest corporate credit unions;
  • We had to get an emergency $30 billion line of credit from Treasury; and
  • We had to get the borrowing limit for the Central Liquidity Facility raised to over $40 billion.

It was a time of extraordinary circumstances, which required extraordinary measures.  And without them, the entire industry might have collapsed.