As Prepared for Delivery on November 18, 2021
The strategic plan is an important document about where the agency may be heading. While the Board does approve this plan, after considering this issue for months, in my view, the Chairman should be given more leeway to set the vision he would like to take the agency.
The strategic plan is an aspirational document. While I certainly believe that climate change is an issue, I do not believe it is an issue for the NCUA as a safety and soundness financial regulator at this time. As of now, my view is that credit unions know best how to manage this risk, not the NCUA. However, in the spirit of bipartisanship, I deferred to the Chairman on the climate change language in the strategic plan. And I did so knowing that this strategic plan, as an aspirational document, does not change any NCUA policy or supervision for climate change.
Since it is worth repeating, let me say once again: As a legal matter, the Board’s support for the strategic plan does not change NCUA policy and should not be interpreted by anyone as a way too implement a future policy change. Changing policy would require future Board action. However, nothing that I have said today should constrain me or, frankly, lock me into a position one way or another for future action regarding climate change. I’m indeed open to studying this issue more, and we should let the best policy prevail.
So now, shifting gears, I also appreciate the fact that the ACCESS Initiative—Advancing Communities through Credit, Education, Stability and Support—was included in today’s plan.
Melissa, I do have one question: Can you discuss the benchmarks the Board added to this plan for ACCESS?
I have no further questions. Thank you.