CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle loves working in the credit union movement.
“I get to help you help people make their dreams come true,” he told attendees at the CUNA National Credit Union Roundtable for Board Leadership in Las Vegas.
But he’s concerned that overregulation, lack of credit union awareness among consumers, and other factors could cause credit unions to lose their differentiating qualities; what makes them special; and what will ensure their future success.
That’s why it’s important for credit unions to go on the advocacy offensive. And board members are a key part of that equation.
“I celebrate the past,” Nussle says, “but we need to meet the challenges of the future. There are boards for companies that used to be dominant that are now gone. How long will we be here? Are we just treading water? How do we ensure we continue helping members reach their dreams?”
Growth is a crucial element of credit unions’ future success. Big banks are increasingly dominant in market share, community banks are losing ground, and credit unions are holding steady.
As the champion for America’s credit unions, CUNA has implemented an advocacy offensive to:
“We have 70,000 board members and 110 million members,” Nussle continues. “Let’s get those numbers working for us. AARP can make the capitol dome shake by contacting its 60 million members. Think what we could do with 110 million.”
Credit unions can involve members in advocacy efforts via CUNA’s Member Activation Program.
Nussle ended his presentation with a call to “plant three seeds” with the board members in attendance:
“Sometimes we overcomplicate advocacy,” Nussle says. “It’s about relationship-building. The purpose is to get to know legislators and for them to get to know you. They’d love to hear how you’re helping your members.”
Bill Merrick is deputy editor of Credit Union Magazine. Follow him on Twitter via @CUMagazine.