Farm Credit Watch: Another Vacancy on the FCA Board Would Cripple It

By Bert Ely

The FCA is administered by a three-member board of directors; the chairman of the board also serves as the FCA’s CEO and chief administrative officer. Glen Smith, a Republican, currently serves as chairman of the FCA board. Jeffrey Hall, also a Republican, is the second board member while the third seat, now vacant, was last held by Dallas Tonsager, a former FCA chairman who died in May 2019. Hall, a protégé of Sen. Mitch McConnell, is serving in a term that expired in Oct. 2018. While a former California banker, Rodney Brown, was nominated in Feb. 2019 to succeed Hall, no further action has been taken on Brown’s nomination. It should be noted that the FCA board typically consists of two members from the party of the current president and one from the other party. The FCA directors also serve as the directors of the FCSIC. The three FCA directors also serve as the directors of the FCSIC.

As is the case with all federal boards and commissions, the FCA board can take official action only if a quorum votes on the proposed action. As with all three-member boards, a quorum for both the FCA and FCSIC boards is two. Consequently, if Hall leaves the FCA board before his replacement is confirmed or something happens to Smith, then neither board will be able to take any official action. This could lead to serious problems at both agencies if any regulatory issues arise within the FCS that require official action by the FCA or FCSIC boards. Given how close the election is and all the issues the Senate currently is dealing with, it is increasingly unlikely that the Senate will confirm Brown or anyone else as an FCA/FCSIC director this year or even early next year, after a new Congress and possibly a new President have been sworn into office. Much could happen between now and when the FCA and the FCSIC have at least two confirmed directors.

Share.

About Author

Bert Ely

Bert Ely is a consultant specializing in banking issues. He writes ABA's Farm Credit Watch.