(Aug. 13, 2021) Todd Harper could remain chairman of the NCUA Board through at least 2024, and would be able to stay on the agency board (either as board leader or a member) until at least April 2027, if the Senate confirms him to another term as recommended by the White House this week.
On Tuesday, President Joe Biden (D) sent Harper’s nomination to continue to be a member of the NCUA Board to the Senate. The White House release noted the action is a “reappointment” to the agency board, and would be for a term expiring April 10, 2027.
Harper joined the board after confirmation by the Senate in March 2019, following his nomination to the seat by President Donald Trump (R) in February. He was named chairman of the board, succeeding Republican appointee Rodney Hood, in January of this year by the newly inaugurated Biden.
If confirmed, Harper may continue to be chairman of the three-member board. However, should Biden serve only one term (by not prevailing in the 2024 election, for instance), the next president could designate another board member as chairman. In any event, the chairman serves at the pleasure of the president, whoever that may be.
Since joining the board, Harper was filling a term that was held by former NCUA Board Chairman Debbie Matz and that began in 2015. Matz resigned in 2016, and the seat had been open until Harper filled it two years ago.
However, that six-year term officially ended in April and Harper has been serving in a holdover capacity since then (which he can do until his successor is confirmed by the Senate). In this case, Harper will be his own successor. Typically, NCUA Board members cannot succeed themselves – but there are exception and different interpretations of the exceptions. The Biden White House has essentially established a precedent in interpreting the Federal Credit Union Act to allow someone appointed to fill an unexpired term to be reappointed for a full six-year term.
Harper was the first NCUA staffer to become an agency board member and chairman. He had previously served as head of the agency’s Office of Public and Congressional Affairs and was the chief policy advisor to two former agency board chairmen, including Matz as well as Rick Metsger. He previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives as staff director for the on capital markets, insurance, and government-sponsored enterprises subcommittee and as legislative director and senior legislative assistant to former Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.).
The nomination will head for consideration to the Senate Banking Committee, whose chairman (Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio) issued a statement this week saying he looks “forward to considering Chairman Harper’s renomination in the Committee and looks forward to continuing to work together to strengthen the NCUA and ensure credit unions can serve their members.”
No confirmation hearing date has yet been set by the Senate panel.