ALEXANDRIA, Va. (June 2, 2020) – National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Chairman Rodney E. Hood issued the following statement today reflecting on the death of George Floyd and current events:
“As the first African-American to lead a federal banking agency, I feel compelled to speak following the tragic death of George Floyd. Over the past few months, communities across the country have been overwhelmed with challenge and uncertainty. Besides being on the heels of a global pandemic, we are also experiencing heightened levels of strife following yet another instance of abuse of authority and violence against a black man.
For me, these discussions are more than simply abstracts — they are personal to me. In my banking career, I’ve attended conferences and professional events where I was the only man of color in the room. I’ve arrived early to speak on a panel discussion, and people were surprised to learn that I was a participant. I vividly remember the conversations with my father about how to engage with police when pulled over, and my mother performing safety checks on my car before I went out on the weekends to ensure the signal and brake lights were all functioning properly. In 2020, I find myself having similar conversations with my young African-American cousins.
As an African-American man, I am shocked and appalled and share the heartbreak of many in the black community. I am all too familiar with the anger and frustration that comes with the everyday challenges and realities surrounding race. While I pray for justice, healing, and peace for our nation and for the family and loved ones of George Floyd, I am also encouraging everyone to have difficult conversations and to look for ways to promote diversity and inclusion within our communities. Individually and collectively, we can make a difference — one conversation and relationship at a time.
At the NCUA, we are striving for ways to lead on these issues. One of the top priorities for my chairmanship is financial inclusion, which means expanded access to the financial mainstream for underserved communities as well as diverse hiring, contracting and board membership. I also called for the creation of the NCUA Culture, Diversity, and Inclusion Council to focus on issues of inclusion within the agency. True inclusion within our financial regulators, financial institutions and communities is a goal we all must strive towards. Diversity is important, but without cultural change that encourages true inclusion, it risks being little more than checking the right boxes.”