ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Sept. 27, 2016) – Consumer access to affordable financial services is essential to strong consumer financial protection, so National Credit Union Administration Board Chairman Rick Metsger is proposing rebranding the agency’s Office of Consumer Protection.
Pending Board approval, the office will be re-named the Office of Consumer Financial Protection and Access, reflecting its role in facilitating access to credit unions through the chartering and field-of-membership functions.
“The Federal Credit Union Act created a system of cooperative credit to promote thrift among its members and create a source of credit for provident and productive purposes,” Metsger said. “One of the best ways to protect consumers is to ensure access to desired products and services from reputable financial services providers. Consumer protection is not just regulating what a credit union can’t do. It’s also about making sure regulations do not inhibit credit unions’ ability to serve members, including those of modest means, with safe and sound products that are financially sustainable for the credit unions.”
As part of the Chairman’s Continual Quality Improvement initiative, the office’s mandate will include several initiatives to promote improved consumer access to credit union services, including:
- Developing a comprehensive online tracking system to determine the status of charter and field-of-membership applications to improve efficiency and accountability;
- Re-evaluating the payday alternative loan product to consider improvements to enhance credit unions’ ability to offer members responsible alternatives to predatory payday loans offered by unregulated and non-insured lenders;
- Increasing coordination with the Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives to better address field-of-membership challenges confronting small credit unions; and
- Providing continued assistance to credit unions seeking NCUA’s low-income credit union designation to better serve the underserved.
The Office of Consumer Protection, established in 2010 and currently headed by Director Gail Laster, is responsible for consumer financial protection policy and outreach, fair lending, consumer complaint processing, financial literacy activities, and promoting access to credit unions.