NCUA Appointments in a Biden Administration

Several probable NCUA board openings mean there will be new leadership at NCUA during the next year. In the past decade the appointments have been without any apparent industry influence. In several instances the board member had no credit union or regulatory background.

To bring knowledgeable and capable candidates to the new administration’s attention, the effort should begin now, be public and stress the importance of credit unions’ role in serving America’s consumers.

Biden Transition Teams In Place

The incoming administration recently announced over twenty transition teams to advise on every major government department and activity. The teams total over 530 people and were formed during the campaign. The complete listing is here:

Their role is described as: “Agency review teams are responsible for understanding the operations of each agency, ensuring a smooth transfer of power, and preparing for President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris and their cabinet to hit the ground running on Day One. These teams are composed of highly experienced and talented professionals with deep backgrounds in crucial policy areas across the federal government. The teams have been crafted to ensure they not only reflect the values and priorities of the incoming administration, but also reflect the diversity of perspectives crucial for addressing America’s most urgent and complex challenges.”

One Credit Union Leader as a Member

The most recent employment column shows appointees from law firms, universities, consulting businesses, Visa, banking, think tanks and the ubiquitous “self-employed.” Scanning the listings, I could find only one current credit union leader in the group under the CFPB team.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Bill Bynum Hope Enterprise Corporation Volunteer

Credit Unions know Bill as the CEO of the $352 million Hope FCU in Jackson, MS.

The transition team charged with overseeing federal regulatory agencies is listed below. I do not know if any of these have cooperative or credit union experience or are even credit union members.

However, at least four of the institutional employers of these members have credit unions serving their community. It would seem useful if the CEO’s of these credit unions would make contact and ask if it would be appropriate to bring credit union needs to the committee’s purview.

Federal Reserve, Banking and Securities Regulators

The Federal Reserve, Banking and Securities Regulators group includes the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Reserve, the National Credit Union Administration, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Name Most Recent Employment Source of Funding
Gary Gensler, Team Lead Massachusetts Institute of Technology Volunteer
Reena Aggarwal Georgetown University Volunteer
Mehrsa Baradaran University of California, Irvine School of Law Volunteer
Lisa Cook Michigan State University Volunteer
Amanda Fischer Washington Center for Equitable Growth Volunteer
Andy Green Center for American Progress Volunteer
Campbell Haynes Virginia Coordinated Campaign Transition — PT Fund, Inc.
Simon Johnson Massachusetts Institute of Technology Volunteer
Dennis Kelleher Better Markets, Inc. Volunteer
Satyam Khanna New York University, School of Law, Institute for Corporate Governance and Finance Volunteer
Renaye Manley Service Employees International Union Volunteer
Lev Menand Columbia University Volunteer
Damon Silvers AFL-CIO Volunteer
Victoria Suarez-Palomo Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP Volunteer

It’s About Relationships

Credit unions’ competitive advantage depends on the relationship with its member-owners. Politics depends on relationships built on loyalty. Now is the time to reinvigorate existing relationships or establish new ones. Maybe we could start by asking Bill Bynum for counsel?

Songs Triumphant

Music has the power to capture, amplify and commemorate our highest emotions. Life’s most joyous moments are memorialized in song. Music uniquely expresses the feelings of jubilation after having won a victory or mastering a difficulty.

Many know this experience from the playing of school songs following a victorious sports contest. Marching band music honors parades of returning heroes. Even a song from a Broadway musical (Oh What a Beautiful Morning) can celebrate an important life event.

Celebrating a Political Exodus

When the British Empire was at its height, music was part of the national euphoria. One of my favorite examples of this victorious spirit is Handel’s oratorio, Israel In Egypt.

The oratorio is the story of the Hebrew’s flight from Egypt. The music paints multiple word pictures of the plagues and the drama of the fleeing slaves pursued by the Egyptian army.

The work is mostly for a double chorus with few solo arias. It is a joy to sing because of its musical exuberance embracing many emotional moods. And fast tempos.

The peak moment is the finale, “The Lord Shall Reign For Ever And Ever.” It reprises Miriam’s Song and the Song of the Sea. After the sea is parted and the Israelites are safe from the pursuing Egyptians, Moses and the children of Israel praise God for having saved them:

Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song unto to the Lord, and they said: I will sing unto the Lord, for He has triumphed, O triumphed; horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea . . . 

For an expression of sheer exuberance, listen and watch this six-minute excerpt. Even the musicians are dancing! (

The Top 100 Coops at Year-end 2019

For 30 years, the National Cooperative Bank (NCB) has published the annual NCB Co-op 100, America’s top 100 Cooperatives by total revenue. In 2019, these member-owned and controlled businesses had total revenues of $228 billion.

Who is on the list?

Five credit unions are in the top 100. Navy is #7; State Employees (NC) #22; PenFed #30; BECU #57; and SchoolsFirst #78.

There are several well known consumer brand names of firms such as SunKist Growers, Land O’Lakes, Ocean Spray, Welch Foods and ACE hardware. In addition to finance, larger co-ops also serve the farming, energy, health care, grocery and hardware sectors.

The total assets of these leaders are $733 billion.

The compiler of the list, NCB, was created to address the financial needs of an underserved market niche: people who join together cooperatively to meet personal, social or business needs especially in low income communities. Chartered by Congress in 1978, NCB was privatized in 1981. Owned by its more than 3,100 customer-owners, it has $7.9 billion in assets under management. As part of its enabling legislation, NCB was tasked with ensuring that 35% of the capital it deploys will benefit low income communities.

A Credit Union Opportunity?

The question for the $1.7 trillion cooperative credit union community’s 5,200 institutions: What are we doing to enhance cooperative solutions for the American economy beyond consumer finance?