Credit unions can ‘do better’ in improving efforts toward DEI, top regulator tells group

Both credit unions and their federal regulator have the “need and ability” to improve their efforts toward diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), the agency’s leader said Wednesday in a speech to a “summit” on the subject.

National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Board Chairman Todd Harper said his agency will continue to seek ways to be a “better ally” to those who “are on the outside looking in” through no fault of their own.

“And while credit unions have likewise made strides in DEI, they also have room for improvement, according to recent research by the NCUA’s Office of the Chief Economist,” Harper said.

Harper referred to a “research note” from the NCUA, which the agency said in a press release uses the general framework and criteria set forth in a Social Index developed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to evaluate the social attributes of mortgages originated by credit unions in 2022.

The note, the NCUA said, holds mixed results for credit unions. The agency said credit unions have higher Social Index scores than entities regulated by other federal financial institutions regulators, but they trailed entities regulated by the Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD), including non-depository institutions. The analysis also suggests that larger credit unions tended to have higher social criteria scores than their smaller credit union counterparts, NCUA reported.

“Given the mission of the credit union system to serve the financial needs of members, the data suggest credit unions can and should do better,” Chairman Harper said.

Chairman Harper Emphasizes Allyship to Achieve DEI Goals