Thomas Expresses Further Concern Over NCUA's Objectivity, Requests Expansion of GAO Study

March 23, 2006 - CU Times - 02:25 PM

WASHINGTON-House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) wrote in a letter to NCUA that his concern for NCUA's "independence and objectivity" was piqued at the Nov. 3 tax-exemption hearing, but further remarks by an NCUA Board Member have pushed him one step further.

In a March 22 Letter to NCUA Chairman JoAnn Johnson, Thomas stated that his fears of NCUA as a "promoter and defender of credit unions rather than a vigilant regulator. have now been confirmed."

He cited a Credit Union Times online article ( from March 14 covering NCUA Board Member Gigi Hyland's remarks to the California Credit Union League's Big Valley Educational Conference. He quoted the following from the story: "'We need to view (the Ways & Means Committee's request for information) as a chance for credit unions to frame the argument themselves. We need to tell stories of people helping people in a way that will appeal to Capitol Hill,' Hyland said, explaining that Washington responds to feel-good sound bites."

Thomas continued, "I ask that you be mindful of your proper role as an independent and objective regulator of credit unions as you move forward with your data collection project." He added that he has asked the Government Accountability Office "to expand its current review of the credit union tax-exemption to include an analysis of the independence and objectivity of the NCUA."