WASHINGTON (2/19/16 UPDATED 1 p.m. ET)--Communication and helping credit union members understand the movement they are a part of are essential to creating credit union advocates, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) reminds people on the eve of its Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC). CUNA’s Chief Political Officer Richard Gose shared this message in an op-ed appearing in Credit Union Journal today, days before CUNA GAC brings thousands of credit union advocates to Capitol Hill to discuss credit union issues.
“CUs are member-owned, not-for-profit, community-based financial cooperatives and successful ones actively engage their membership, keeping them informed about the issues facing the institutions, involving them when necessary,” Gose wrote.
CUNA research shows that education credit union members become not only fiercely loyal, but increasingly willing to get involved in grassroots advocacy when asked. CUNA has two programs that have been successful in getting members involved. CUNA’s Member Activation Program (MAP) and “Project Zip Code.”
MAP leverages the loyalty members have for their credit union to provide information and mobilizes them to contact public officials in support of credit union advocacy priorities.
“Not only does the program resonate with longtime members who understand the credit union difference, it uses grassroots advocacy to build a stronger bond among newer members,” Gose wrote.
Gose said that 82% of credit unions members who receive advocacy outreach from their credit union want to do more business with their credit union. In MAP’s first year, more than 80 credit unions contacted three million credit union members on campaigns including "Stop the Data Breaches" and "Strong Credit Unions, Strong Middle Class."
Project ZIP Code, a unique tool available to credit unions, is a secure program that counts credit union members and matches them by congressional district, state legislative district and county. These numbers are uploaded to CUNA's Project Zip Code website and combined with data from credit unions nationwide to aid in federal and state advocacy efforts.
“We've most recently used this data to calculate the cost of the regulatory burden by congressional districts, giving us valuable information to take to Capitol Hill during CUNA GAC this week,” Gose wrote.
“These tools, well utilized by CUNA's membership, are making a difference in our advocacy work. The voice of your credit union through your members is stronger on Capitol Hill and in the state legislatures because programs like these help us unite and unify nearly 105 million members,” he added.
Gose’s op-ed will appear in a print edition of Credit Union Journal that will be distributed to all attendees at next week’s CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC).
CUNA GAC runs from Feb. 21 to 25, and coverage will be featured in special report e-mails and on news.cuna.org.