Dear Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer:
Since becoming the NCUA Chairman, I have described financial inclusion as the civil rights issue of our time. By ‘inclusion,’ I mean not only broader access to affordable financial services, but also to employment and business opportunities. Our country is going through a period of profound demographic change, and our financial system should be leading efforts to respond to that change. Credit unions are growing stronger, and they serve their members and communities better when they promote greater diversity, equity, and inclusion as part of their business model.
The NCUA is committed to supporting diversity and inclusion in the credit union system, and part of that commitment is building a database of credit unions’ activities related to diversity and inclusion. The data that credit unions voluntarily provide helps the NCUA better understand areas where guidance would be useful and, when appropriate, prompts us to issue guidance to help bridge the gaps and assist credit unions with their diversity and inclusion efforts. For example, in 2018, we issued a Credit Union Guide to Supplier Diversity (opens new window), and before the end of 2019, we will release a boardroom diversity guidebook.
Annually since 2016, the NCUA has encouraged credit unions to share their diversity and inclusion successes and challenges by completing and submitting the Credit Union Diversity Self-Assessment (opens new window). The Self-Assessment is voluntary — it is not part of the NCUA’s or state regulators’ examination processes, and it has no impact on your credit union’s CAMEL rating.
There are many benefits and no risks in sharing your diversity and inclusion journey with us. Available year-round, the Self-Assessment contains proven best practices and serves as a tool to assess and guide your credit union’s diversity efforts. You may start it any time during the year, save it, and then return to it later. This feature allows you to use the form during monthly board meetings or periodic strategic planning sessions and complete it incrementally. This way, the Self-Assessment becomes a guide to improved diversity and inclusion health within your credit union and beyond. Although open year-round, the cut-off date for submission of the annual Self-Assessment is January 15 of the following year.
The Self-Assessment form, instructions for completing it, and several useful diversity-related tools and resources are available on our Credit Union Diversity webpage. You can also access the Self-Assessment directly at (opens new window).
The NCUA also uses this important data to report on progress and trends in credit union diversity-related activities. Our Office of Minority and Women Inclusion aggregates the data and only shares the results anonymously, primarily in the NCUA’s annual OMWI Congressional Report and in the annual Voluntary Credit Union Diversity Self-Assessment Results Report. The NCUA will not publish diversity information that identifies any particular credit union or individual without written approval.
Each year the number of credit unions that participate in the Self-Assessment increases, but we need greater participation in order to gather meaningful data. I ask credit unions of all sizes, particularly those with 100 or more employees, to complete the Self-Assessment annually and share your results with our OMWI office.
If you have any questions, suggestions or want to share a best practice, please contact NCUA’s OMWI at 703.518.1650 or by email at CUDiversity@ncua.gov.
Rodney E. Hood