Last night, I was asked for a quote on the announcement of Ms. Matz’s coming retirement in April. I reflected for a minute or two and wondered if letting it all pass without comment might be the better road to take. Then I shot out the following:
“The best thing about NCUA board member appointments is that they come to an end. Ms. Matz always appeared one step behind, and always out of phase, trying to enforce agendas behind the problems and oblivious to changing events. She used the potential of disasters to bolster her planned dismantling of our system, and her spin on safety and soundness to break the spirit of cooperative entrepreneurs (everyday members) to ruin the system’s faith in credit unions outside of the agency’s false stereotypes. We deserved better – I hope.”
This morning when I got work I worried that I might have been unfair, and certainly not very gracious. So I took a couple more minutes to reflect on my comments and feelings, which I will share here:
- Regulators are always one step behind a crisis… Crises by definition are generally unexpected, and full of wrinkles that make them unique, so am I being unfair here?
NO. The NCUA just keeps using the same approaches to system challenges time after time, without appearing to learn anything from past events. This board held no one’s feet to the fire in hopes of innovating on past experiences. Ms. Matz did not build a learning organization, or even appear to challenge the status quo as a leader.
- Regulators always seem to make up their minds, and lock in on a solution forward without contingencies or moments to pause and adjust, so am I being unfair here?
NO. The NCUA continues to make a sham of comment periods, disregard the lessons of other agencies and new perspectives (RBC), and marches forward even if it means taking losses before they are actual losses. Ms. Matz never seemed to press the break, to adjust, to save a single soul or organization that was in the way of the NCUA’s marching orders. A leader locked in with no way to adjust is not leading; they are pushing from behind no matter where things go.
- Regulators never care about the spirit of those they govern, they simple govern to the rules and internal agendas of their agencies, so am I being unfair here?
NO. Ms. Matz, like every new and existing board member, had/has the responsibility to examine the community it oversees, to consider the times, and to reflect on the health and cultures of the industries they try to keep safe and sound. Discouraged people and organizations are not healthy or sound when depressed, oppressed, and looking for exits. Ms. Matz never connected with the spirit of cooperative business design, or the heart of customers who want to own solutions. She failed to connect the dots between the destructive internal agendas of the NCUA (budgets, unrealistic risk responses, and power grabbing) and the consolidation of our industry.
The quote ends with “We deserved better – I hope” not totally as a closing score for Ms. Matz’s term, but also as a challenge to all of us. Do we do enough to avoid board members that lead the agency to these ends? To our potential end? In the end I will live with the quote and feel it was justified. Tell Me Why I’m Wrong.