July 20, 2020

The triple crises of 2020 -- pandemic, economic contraction, and racial and social upheaval -- are opening up new kinds of conversations. Today’s episode is one of these -- my discussion with Rodney Hood, the Chairman of the National Credit Union Administration.

Chairman Hood is the first African-American, ever, to head a US federal financial regulatory agency -- and one of only eight to hold presidentially-appointed roles in these agencies since the New Deal.  As we continue our Barefoot Innovation special series on financial regulation after the pandemic, we focus closely on the challenges of racial disparity in the financial system, and what to do about them.

Chairman Hood has written two op-eds since the death of George Floyd, one in the Wall Street Journal and one in Credit Union Journal that cites financial inclusion as the civil rights issue of our time. Today’s show includes a far-ranging overview of the changes needed in our system and many promising initiatives underway, by credit unions, minority-owned financial institutions, and others. Those include the recent decision by Netflix to deposit $100 million in black-owned banks.

Our conversation also includes an update on how the NCUA is operating in the pandemic, and a thorough overview of the state of America’s 5,000-plus credit unions in the crisis thus far, with insights about the challenges the Chairman sees for them ahead.

It also offers a heartening glimpse into the rising, close collaboration among the leaders of our regulatory agencies. The United States has a uniquely complex regulatory structure that creates challenges when our various agencies need to work in concert, and need to move quickly. As Chairman Hood makes clear, they see this need acutely as the nation grapples with our compound crises. It’s a trend that bodes well for future interagency collaboration as technology continues to rev up the velocity of change in the financial system.

More on Rodney Hood

President Donald Trump nominated Rodney E. Hood for the NCUA Board on January 19, 2019 and the U.S. Senate confirmed him on March 14, 2019. He took the oath of office on April 8, 2019, and was designated as the eleventh NCUA Chairman by President Trump.

As NCUA Board Chairman, Mr. Hood serves as a voting member of the Financial Stability Oversight Council. He also represents the NCUA on the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council and the Financial, Banking Information Infrastructure Committee.

Mr. Hood was previously nominated to the NCUA Board by President George W. Bush and served from November 2005 until August 2009. He was appointed Vice Chairman by then- NCUA Board Chairman JoAnn Johnson and served as the NCUA’s representative on the board of directors of NeighborWorks America.

Immediately prior to rejoining the NCUA Board, Mr. Hood was a corporate responsibility manager for JPMorgan Chase, managing national partnerships with non-profit organizations promoting financial inclusion and shared prosperity in underserved communities throughout the United States.

His previous experience includes serving as associate administrator of the Rural Housing Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In this position, he worked to address the housing needs in rural communities and helped administer the agency’s $43 billion mortgage portfolio.

Prior to his public service, Mr. Hood was the marketing director and group sales manager for North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, national director of the Emerging Markets Group for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, and served on the board of the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation. He has served as a member of the Board of Governors for the University of North Carolina College System.

Mr. Hood holds a bachelor’s degree in business, communications, and political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

More for our listeners

Our special podcast series has heard so far from current leaders helming major regulatory agencies — Brian Brooks, Jelena Mc Williams, and Chris Woolard — as well as former agency heads like Thomas Curry and Eugene Ludwig. Stay tuned to see where the next show brings us!

Please, everyone, stay safe.

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