Debbie Matz, the chairman of the National Credit Union Administration’s board, said on Friday that minority credit unions are crucial to creating economic diversity and opportunity, particularly in America’s underserved and low-income communities.
“Minority credit unions perform an extremely important function,” Matz said before the African-American Credit Union Coalition during its annual conference. “They are often the only insured institutions serving low-income and underserved areas. Your being there—making loans to small businesses so they can provide jobs and offering loans so your members can buy a car or a home or send a child to college—has helped hard-working families in those communities pave a path towards financial security.”
Matz touched on the NCUA’s efforts to foster diversity, including increased diversification of its personnel, expansion of the size and percentage of contracts awarded to female-owned and minority-owned businesses, the creation of the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion program and the proposed Minority Credit Union Preservation Program.
“It’s very important to preserve, to the extent we can, both the special character and the number of minority credit unions serving their communities, especially in underserved communities,” Matz noted. “The policy proposed at our July Board meeting will align NCUA with federal law and the programs of other federal regulators to preserve minority depository institutions.”
Last month, the board issued for public comment a proposed ruling and policy statement that would establish the Minority Depository Institution Preservation Program, which seeks to preserve current minority credit unions and encourage the development of others; provide technical assistance, training and education programs; and preserve the minority character of credit unions in the event of acquisition or merger.