Gov. Doug Burgum today thanked the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Board for revising its strategic plan to clarify that the agency won’t be discouraging or micromanaging local credit unions for lending activities related to the agriculture and fossil fuel industries.
Burgum sent a letter in January urging the board to remove language from its proposed 2022-2026 strategic plan that targeted agriculture in a section titled “climate related financial risks.” The draft plan assumed that changing weather patterns “will disproportionately affect farming communities” and suggested that “to remain resilient credit unions may need to consider adjustments” to their membership.
On Thursday, the NCUA Board adopted a revised plan that retains the climate risk section but includes additional language clarifying that the agency “does not intend to micromanage credit union lending decisions for climate financial risk, including lending to family farms and others in the agricultural sector as well as businesses tied to the fossil fuel industry. The NCUA Board underscores that nothing in this strategic plan should be construed as discouraging activities related to agriculture or fossil fuels.”
In a statement Thursday about the final strategic plan, NCUA Board member Rodney Hood cited Burgum’s letter and stated, “Currently my view is that credit unions know best how to manage and mitigate the risk in their respective communities and not the NCUA.”
Burgum said that while he would have preferred to see the climate risk language removed, “We appreciate the NCUA Board clarifying its position so that credit unions know they can continue to provide financial services to our farmers, ranchers and energy industry without fear that such activity will put them in the crosshairs of federal regulators. North Dakota continues to be a leader in carbon capture, utilization and storage efforts, recognizing that carbon neutrality can be achieved only through innovation, not regulation.”