NCUA Board chairman lauds diversity at agency – with a special nod to LGBTQ staff

The federal regulator of credit unions has increased the diversity of its workforce in a number of areas, the chairman of the agency’s board said Thursday, noting in particular the increased number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) employees holding positions.

The comments by National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Board Chairman J. Mark McWatters were made at the regular meeting of the agency’s board. But the timing of the remarks came against a backdrop in which Karen Pence, wife of Republican Vice President Mike Pence, was being spotlighted Thursday for taking a teaching job at a school that bans LGBTQ pupils and staff.

Discussing the agency’s 2019 Annual Performance Plan (APP), McWatters – a Republican – lauded the agency for its improvement of diversity across the agency workforce.

NCUA Board Chairman J. Mark McWatters (left) discusses diversity gains at the agency over the past year (click to see 1:35-minute video)

“We can talk the talk, but can we walk the walk,” McWatters said, discussing diversity. He noted that the agency has (from 2017-18): among senior staff, increased slots for women by 5 percentage points; increased slots for minorities by 21%; across the entire agency workforce, increased minority representation “about 6%.”

“Very impressive moves over the course of one year,” McWatters said.

He ended his plaudits by noting the agency had added to its diversity program “members of the LGBTQ community.”

“It’s very important to me, and it’s very important to the board, it’s very important to this agency,” McWatters said. “We’ve created a diverse environment where members of this community – the LGBTQ community – are totally comfortable working here, and there is no need whatsoever for them under any circumstances to hide their status. We welcome you.”