Say it Ain’t So: McWatters Slated to Leave NCUA Board

January 12, 2016 at 10:03 am 2 comments

I knew it was too good to last.

Suddenly, in August of 2014,  the NCUA board included a real life,  unabashed  strict-constructionist lawyer and fierce advocate of credit union  flexibility.  Now he’s leaving to go irritate a whole new group of bureaucrats and credit unions are worse off for it.  Send In the clowns.

J. Mark McWatters, who has been an outspoken advocate of greater regulatory flexibility for credit unions since he joined the NCUA’s three member board in August of 2014 has been nominated by President Obama yesterday to serve on the Board of Directors of the recently reauthorized Export-Import Bank of the United States.

I will get over the fact that he is ditching the NCUA but it will take some time. Since his appointment he has not been afraid to ruffle some feathers,  He questioned NCUA’s legal authority to impose risk based capital requirements on Well Capitalized credit unions;  advocated for a more expansive interpretation of credit union MBL authority  and  for a more flexible approach to   MBL  enforcement;  and pointedly questioned  NCUA’s budget priorities.  Critics would argue that much of this would have been done without McWatters but it’s  hard to believe that these initiatives would have been pushed with quite so much gusto had he not been around.

The only person happier than McWatters this morning might be Chairman Matz. Arranged marriages are always dicey  and these two get along about as well as John and Lorena Bobbitt. In fairness to Matz,   McWatters is pathologically incapable of going more than five minutes without referencing the fact that he is a lawyer and,  at times,  seems more interested  in being a contrarian and listening to  himself speak  then in playing a constructive part of the policy process.  But no one is perfect. Fortunately,  McWatters is far from done.  His still has to be approved by the Senate and until he is he promises to stay actively involved with the NCUA.

Parenthetically, McWatters’  nomination is shrewd   insider baseball. Everyone in politics has a Godfather  who helps them along the way;  on paper McWatters’ Godfather is  Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) ) who, as Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee,   was a leader of  the drive to kill the Export Import  Bank  which he considered a leading example of corporate welfare. McWatters served as counsel to the congressman  in 2009 and chose to be sworn in to his position on the NCUA Board in Jeb’s District office . It’s safe to say that, with McWaters on the bank’s Board,  he has a kindred soul  who will relish the opportunity to tweak the corporate lobbyists who seek the Bank’s support..


Entry filed under: General. Tags: .

More Needs To Be Done To Prevent Insider Abuse The Speech That Obama Can’t Give

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mira Ness  |  January 12, 2016 at 10:57 am

    It is very sad that he is leaving…

  • 2. Lynn Gray  |  January 12, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    Yes it was like a breath of fresh air having someone not afraid to open up his mouth and question the hierarchy. Just because its always been that way doesn’t always make it right. Sad to see him go.


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Authored By:

Henry Meier, Esq., General Counsel, New York Credit Union Association.

The views Henry expresses are Henry’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Association.

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