85th Anniversary Celebration of the Federal Credit Union Act – NCUA Chairman Rodney E. Hood

Mark Treichel: With that, it’s my pleasure
to introduce the 11th Chairman of NCUA, Rodney Hood. Chairman Hood: Happy 85th anniversary NCUA. They’re here. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so very much
for joining us all here today. I want to especially thank a lot of our invited
guests and I want to thank you all. First, I want to thank Federal Housing Commissioner,
Brian Montgomery. We all recognize you. We also have a number of folks visiting us
today from the White House, from the US treasury and from the small business administration
and also a lot of the folks with whom we work from the federal home loan bank system. So let’s thank them all. If you could raise your hands, if I just [inaudible]
your groups. Thank you. I am delighted to welcome all of you as we
commemorate the signing of the Federal Credit Union Act by President Franklin D Roosevelt,
which occurred on this day, June 26, 1934. Now 85 years later, federally insured credit
unions are stronger than ever with nearly $1.5 trillion in assets offering a variety
of financial products including mortgages, consumer loans, and member business loans
to tens of millions of Americans. The rise of the credit union movement is a
story of expanding economic opportunity and it indeed is a wonderful story to tell because
it was not always the case. These innovative financial institutions emerged
in response to our great need and at a time of great national trial. A century ago, many Americans had trouble
getting access to capital. If you are from a working or even a middle
class background, if you had a small business you hope to see grow or if you had a family
farm where you needed to get your crops and livestock to market, access to credit was
tough to come by. Chairman Hood: Moreover, even if you could
get capital, it often came with high interest rates or the loan was structured in ways that
made repayment difficult, if not impossible. Then when the stock market crashed in 1929,
what credit might’ve been readily available, suddenly dried up. Thousands of businesses of all sizes closed. Millions of people were out of work and the
nation sank into a devastating economic depression. Difficult times demanded creative thinking,
and that was the backdrop, ladies and gentlemen, when Congress drafted the Federal Credit Union
Act. But the most important story to tell, it’s
not about legislation or credit or quite frankly even financial institutions. Instead, it is the story about people helping
people and their own local communities. It’s also important to note that credit unions
arose and grew not out of government fiat. Instead, they grew from a grassroots movement
of people who were forgotten about and were being left behind. Chairman Hood: Credit Unions, a national system
of cooperative credit offered through locally based member owned financial institutions
that could provide affordable credit and savings services to those in need. That is what would be the one-key solution
to the problem that was facing America to that time. At every step, it was about the promise of
people helping people. It, however, was not completely a new idea. Credit unions did exist prior to the federal
law. They were charted by the states, but the Federal
Credit Union Act laid the groundwork for the comprehensive system we now have today. That regulatory framework would lead to increased
trust, confidence, and accountability, which allow these vital local institutions to expand,
to thrive and to give back to the communities they serve. 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 live up to the values embedded in its original conception. Chairman Hood: With the stroke of a pen, President
Roosevelt made it possible for teachers, police officers and firefighters, military personnel
and their families, skilled trades people, and so many other hardworking people across
the country to combine their resources collectively and organize credit unions. Loans could be provided to members based on
the consideration of their character as well as their ability to repay. The grassroots movement led to a further democratization
of banking and credit and contributed to the economic rebirth of America following the
Great Depression. Through times of conflict and times of relative
calm, through economic booms and busts, through societal and technological challenges, credit
unions have carried on that noble tradition of serving their members and their local communities. They have indeed kept their promise of people
helping people. Many of the people here today play a role
in making that possible. I’d like to now recognize and give my thanks
and appreciation to the current NCUA board members in attendance. May I please introduce board member, Todd
Harper if you could stand and let everyone see you, please. Chairman Hood: And Board member, Mark McWatters,
if we could also thank you as well. Gentlemen, your leadership has contributed
greatly to the strength and success of the federally insured credit unions within our
care. I thank you for your commitment and your service. But most importantly of all, I want to thank
our employees, past, present and future. I want to thank those past employees because
they’re the ones that laid that great foundation for the institutions that we get to work with
and oversee today. But I would be certainly remiss if I didn’t
think the 1,128 employees who we have here today or watching. Because of you, the credit unions are able
to achieve great results through our regulatory framework. I want to thank you all 1,128 who according
to my wishes bring your best true and authentic selves here to this agency every day. And I also want to thank the future — I saw
some interns earlier. I don’t know if Kennedy is here and the others
I’ve been talking to, but you all are the future that I want to thank because I think
you all are perhaps going to be the future of NCUA as well. Chairman Hood: So it’s because of you that
we get to have a great robust system. I salute your service to this agency, to the
credit union system, to their members and to the citizens of this great nation. Just as the drafters of the law and President
Roosevelt envisioned 85 years ago, credit unions are continuing to help people. I believe that they would all be proud of
how far we’ve come since that auspicious beginning. Since that auspicious beginning, credit unions
now have over $1.5 trillion in assets. They have loans outstanding of over $1 trillion
and they’re serving a third of the American people with a net worth of 11.3%. I think it’s safe to say that those founders
would be pleased to see the results that are being generated today, and I’m pleased to
serve as the chairman that gets to lead this great agency every day. With that being said, happy anniversary.

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