NCUA Chairman Leaves Legacy of Recoveries and Regulatory Relief
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (March 9, 2016) – National Credit Union Administration Board Chairman Debbie Matz announced today her decision to step down at the end of April. Matz has led the agency, which supervises over 6,000 credit unions with $1.2 trillion in assets, since August 2009.
“I am proud of all that NCUA has accomplished to bring stability, advance growth and promote flexibility in our nation’s credit unions,” Matz said. “Through the hard work of credit union officials and NCUA staff, the credit union system rebounded mightily from the depths of the Great Recession. Virtually every metric indicates the credit union system today is strong and resilient.”
When Matz became Chairman, the credit union system was on the brink of collapse. The survival of the system was threatened by corporate credit unions holding $50 billion in toxic assets and consumer credit unions facing billions of dollars in potential losses. Such catastrophic losses would have wiped out the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, which at the time had only $8 billion in assets.
“We worked around the clock to prevent the collapse of the credit union system, when the outcome was really in doubt,” Matz said. “My top priority was to save as many credit unions as we could, minimize total losses, rebuild the Insurance Fund and stabilize the credit union system. We then focused on shoring up gaps in supervision, regulations, policies and procedures that threatened safety and soundness, and put new safeguards in place to stop the hemorrhaging and prevent the system from failing.”
Under Matz’s leadership, NCUA became the first federal financial institutions regulator to recover losses from the Wall Street firms that contributed to the Great Recession. NCUA’s net proceeds from those recoveries have reduced the total amount and need for assessments paid by consumer credit unions, and increased the likelihood of a future rebate.
“As I look back, I am extraordinarily proud of NCUA’s efforts to hold Wall Street accountable,” Matz said. “To date, we’ve recovered $2.4 billion in settlements with firms that sold faulty mortgage-backed securities to corporate credit unions, and I’m confident we will collect even more on behalf of credit unions in the future.”
Matz also implemented a Regulatory Modernization Initiative that began in 2011. Over the last five years, Matz’s initiative yielded 21 areas of innovative regulatory relief, consistent with President Obama’s Executive Order 13579.
“I am very proud that we have provided relief to credit unions in so many ways—from permitting full-service video tellers in the definition of federal credit union service facilities to finalizing a rule facilitating member business lending; from implementing an opt-in notification process for low-income designation to creating an expedited exam process for small credit unions; from expanding the definition of a small credit union to eliminating the cap on fixed assets.”
During Matz’s term as Chairman, NCUA has received annual recognition for being one of the “Best Places to Work in the Federal Government.”
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with the bright and talented NCUA staff who dedicate their working lives to protecting the hard-earned dollars of nearly 103 million credit union account holders,” Matz said. “From entry-level examiners to staff who have spent decades with the agency, our employees are hard-working, creative and passionate about the agency’s mission.”
Transparency and outreach throughout the credit union system have been hallmarks of Chairman Matz’s tenure. Since 2009, she has held 19 in-person Listening Sessions, hosted 13 industry-wide webinars, and participated in meetings with tens of thousands of credit union officials representing every state.
“One of the best parts of this job has been traveling the country to visit with credit union officials, staff and volunteers, to hear their suggestions and, where possible, address their concerns,” Matz said. “Their commitment to member service is the gold standard and much admired throughout the world.
“Finally, I am deeply grateful to President Obama for providing me with the opportunity to serve the nation as NCUA Board Chairman,” Matz said. “As I recently told the President, this has been the most challenging and gratifying position I have held and a wonderful capstone to my 32 years of public service.”
Serving a total of 11 years at NCUA, Matz is the eighth NCUA Board Chairman and the only NCUA Board Member ever confirmed by the U.S. Senate for a second term. Her term ended on April 10, 2015. She represents NCUA on the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, which she chaired from 2011-2013, and on the Financial Stability Oversight Council, on which she has served since its inception in 2010. Beginning in May, Matz plans to take time off before pursuing new professional opportunities. Matz’s letter to President Obama is available here.
NCUA is the independent federal agency created by the U.S. Congress to regulate, charter and supervise federal credit unions. With the backing of the full faith and credit of the United States, NCUA operates and manages the National Credit Union Share
Insurance Fund, insuring the deposits of nearly 105 million account holders in all federal credit unions and the overwhelming majority of
state-chartered credit unions. At MyCreditUnion.gov and Pocket Cents, NCUA also educates the public on consumer protection and financial literacy issues.