CU regulator’s board chairman offers congrats to chief of staff, who is leaving for top job at trade group

The chief of staff for the federal credit union regulator’s board chairman is leaving the agency for the top job at a state trade association, and her soon-to-be-former boss offered congratulations in a statement Friday.

Noting contributions to the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) by his Chief of Staff Sarah Vega, Board Chairman J. Mark McWatters thanked her for her “guidance and partnership.”

Thursday, the Cooperative Credit Union Association (CCUA, representing credit unions in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Delaware) announced that Vega would be taking the job of president and chief executive at the trade group.

“Sarah’s many contributions to this agency and to the financial industry over the past decade have helped create a safer, sounder, and more responsive credit union system,” McWatters said. “She came here as the financial crisis threatened credit unions and helped guide the agency’s response. She worked diligently to make the NCUA more flexible, efficient, accountable, and effective. She built strong relationships with industry stakeholders, our sister agencies, and elected officials at the state and national levels.”

Vega has served twice as chief of staff to the chairman of the agency, which she joined in 2008, according to NCUA. Her first stint in the role came in that year when she served Chairman Michael E. Fryzel. When Fryzel (a Republican appointee) shifted to status of board member following the appointment of a Democrat as chairman (following the election of President Barack Obama), Vega stayed with Fryzel as senior policy advisor. When Fryzel left the board (at the end of his term), she moved over to work with McWatters (also a Republican appointee) to continue service as a senior policy advisor.

She once again became the chairman’s chief of staff in 2017 following McWatters’ appointment to the top board post by President Donald Trump.

Vega is also the former director of the Illinois Department of Financial Institutions; before that, she was administrator of the department’s Credit Union Division, regulating state-chartered credit unions.

A date for Vega’s exit from the credit union regulator was not given in McWatters’ statement. Nor did a press release by the CCUA mention a start date for her at the trade group.

NCUA Chairman McWatters’ Statement Congratulating Sarah Vega