NCUA’s Hood: We Must Make a Sustained Commitment to Financial Inclusion

(From NCUA Express) – The financial services industry must make an institutional commitment to the values of diversity, equity, and financial inclusion, National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Chairman Rodney E. Hood said today.

“It’s time to start telling a new story about the financial service industry’s contributions to society,” said Chairman Hood. “And, just to be clear, I’m not suggesting another shiny marketing or public relations campaign. Rather, I’m talking about taking action to realize what’s best in this industry through service to your clients and stakeholders. That story, and that action, must focus on the values of financial inclusion — bringing more people into the mainstream financial system.”

Hood delivered the keynote address during the Institute of International Bankers’ Virtual Summit on Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion: How Foreign Banks Can Support Inclusive Growth. His remarks are available on the NCUA’s website.

During his remarks, Hood said his more than 20 years in the financial services industry has shown the significant role it can play in helping families achieve financial freedom, creating small businesses, and supporting local communities. A vibrant and healthy financial services sector is essential, he noted, but it can and should do more to foster greater inclusion.

Specifically, Hood outlined three steps the financial industry should take to encourage and incentivize financial inclusion. They include:

  • Making a real institutional commitment to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion;
  • Continuing to explore the promise of financial technology to create the conditions that will nurture greater financial inclusion; and
  • Creating innovative financial products that promote greater inclusion.

“When we talk about addressing inequities that are hurting our societies, we must move beyond offering soothing platitudes and ethereal, pie-in-the-sky statements of support,” said Hood. “What we must focus on instead is action. We must focus on what we can do to address those inequities. We must identify and implement solutions at a concrete level, within our realm of influence, to make the changes we need to see.”

“We can’t simply sit back and wait for someone else to come along and fix it. It begins with leadership, and it begins with recapturing the best sense of finance as a force of good that’s innovative, productive, constructive, and dedicated to problem-solving and making a positive difference in our world.”