Harper takes the reins at NCUA

(Jan. 29, 2021) Todd M. Harper is now the NCUA Board chairman, succeeding Rodney Hood in the position, as the result of designation by President Joe Biden early this week. Harper is the 12th person to be chairman of the federal credit union regulator board.

The credit union system now sits at the intersection of several crossroads, and the agency faces many decisions ahead related to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to advance economic equality and justice,” Harper said in a statement issued the day his designation was announced. “As NCUA Board Chairman, I will continue to focus on four policy priorities: capital and liquidity, consumer financial protection, cybersecurity, and diversity, equity and economic inclusion. Each of these priorities are vital in responding to current economic and marketplace realities.”

Prior to joining the NCUA Board, Harper served as director of the agency’s Office of Public and Congressional Affairs and chief policy advisor to former Chairmen Debbie Matz and Rick Metsger. He is the first member of the NCUA staff to become an NCUA Board member and chairman. Before joining the agency, he worked for the U.S. House of Representatives as staff director for the subcommittee on capital markets, insurance, and government-sponsored enterprises and as legislative director and senior legislative assistant to former Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.).

Harper was confirmed by the Senate as a member of the NCUA Board in April 2019. His term expires in just about two months (in April), but he can continue to serve in a holdover capacity until a successor is confirmed.

But Harper is the lone Democrat on the board, serving alongside Republican appointees Hood and Vice Chairman Kyle Hauptman. Because he is the only Democrat, it’s likely that the White House will keep him in the seat until at least another position opens on the board. That may be a while, however: the term of Hood (who remains on the board as a member) ends in August 2023, and Hauptman’s in August 2025.

Hood and Hauptman also released a statement this week congratulating Harper, with Hauptman saying he looked forward to working with the new chairman “to provide a regulatory framework that helps credit unions meet the evolving needs of members,” and Hood saying he would work in partnership with both board colleagues to address the impact of COVID-19 on credit unions, and other things, “in a bipartisan manner.”