As Prepared for Delivery.
Thank you very much.
It is a great honor and a distinct privilege to here today. I’d like to begin with a note of thanks – first to Vice President Pence, for swearing me in and for your leadership in working under President Trump to enact a pro-growth economic agenda that seeks to empower individuals and communities across the nation. And also, I want to thank the members of the U.S. Senate, for the trust they placed in me in approving my nomination.
And of course, I especially want to thank President Trump for the confidence he has placed in me by naming me Chairman of the National Credit Union Administration.
This is the greatest honor of my life, Mr. President, and I appreciate your giving me this tremendous opportunity.
I have a confession: I did not set out to dedicate my work life to financial services. In fact, my first choice for a career, stemming from my time spent working as a church missionary in Africa, was to enter the ministry.
As it turned out, life had other plans for me. But that urge to service I felt as a young man did point the way toward my future path. Once I embarked on my banking career, I always saw our primary mission in simple terms: It was about people helping people.
When I made that fundamental connection, the distance between missionary work and the mission of finance wasn’t as great as it might have seemed at first glance.
That was what steered me into my work in community banking, providing services to, and advocating for, the needs of underserved communities. That commitment to service to others still guides me today, and it’s the core value I bring with me to the National Credit Union Administration.
This month we marked the 85th anniversary of President Franklin Roosevelt’s signing of the Federal Credit Union Act. That law established the system of federal oversight that would allow the credit union industry to grow, to thrive and to extend credit and financial services to working people in the hard to reach places – the rural communities, the working communities, the marginalized places where people were in danger of being overlooked or passed by.
It was a system that made it possible for teachers; police officers and firefighters; military personnel and their families; parishioners; skilled tradespeople and so many others across the country to pool their resources and organize credit unions. Loans could be provided to members based on the consideration of their character, as well as the ability to repay. This further democratization of banking and credit contributed to America’s economic rebirth following the Depression.
This regulatory framework established 85 years ago increased trust, confidence, and accountability in the system. And that was what allowed these vital local institutions to expand, to prosper, and to give back to the communities they serve.
Thanks to the foresight of those who established that system, today millions of Americans—117 million, at last count, and growing—know they can confidently entrust their savings and their financial well-being to their credit unions.
But that trust, that confidence—those are not things we can simply take for granted. They need to be reinforced by a continual commitment to service, transparency, and accountability.
Overseeing the credit union system to ensure safety and soundness is the NCUA’s critically important mission. Every day, our people are responsible for ensuring that credit unions are living up to the values embedded in their original conception.
It’s an honor and a privilege to work with so many dedicated professionals, the men and women of NCUA who are so deeply committed to those values and that mission.
As for me, I served once before with this agency, from 2005 to 2009, so I accepted this position with a clear sense of that mission and its importance, informed by firsthand experience. I am fortunate to take on this leadership responsibility at such a time as this.
My goal will be to find ways to develop and improve even further on what those who came before me have built.
My parents have passed, but they left me a strong value system — one rooted in humility, integrity, hard work and compassion. I’ll note, to return to where I started, that those are the same values — rooted in my Christian faith — that guided me in my first career as a missionary.
Those values have guided me throughout my 25 years in the private sector and in public service. And they will continue to guide me as I strive to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of my position as Chairman of the National Credit Union Administration. Thank you very much.