Advocacy is a word you’ll find throughout this issue.
It’s a pillar of our representative democracy and an important strategy in removing legislative and regulatory barriers so credit unions can provide excellent service to members.
But successful grassroots advocacy demands a coordinated approach.
First, credit unions must engage— with CUNA, regulators, and representatives.
That engagement is critical when CUNA prepares its legislative agenda, for example. The agenda is built largely on understanding what credit unions need and what they will support, CUNA Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan points out. To know that, credit unions have to speak up.
Another example: NCUA received more than 2,000 comment letters from the credit union system with concerns about the agency’s initial risk-based capital proposal last year. And because of credit unions’ strong relationships with legislators, supporters in the House and Senate shared their concerns with NCUA, too.
The agency withdrew the first proposal, reissuing it in January. Mary Dunn, CUNA’s deputy chief advocacy officer, provides analysis of this latest proposal and raises important questions for credit unions to consider as they get ready to comment again. The comment deadline is April 27.
Second, members must engage. Results from CUNA’s Member Activation Program (MAP) indicate they will engage if you ask them. Four out of five members agree their credit unions could contact them about proposed laws impacting credit union operations. And these members would want their credit union to ask them to contact elected officials on their behalf.
CUNA research also shows that communicating with members early and oft en on key advocacy issues reinforces their membership loyalty and grows wallet share, too.
To remove burdens and protect our tax status, “we have to constantly remind lawmakers just how many millions of Americans belong to credit unions,” says Trey Hawkins, CUNA’s vice president of political affairs. “Better yet, we have to empower those millions of credit union members to act on their behalf as member-owners of their own financial cooperative.”
CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle says MAP is “ready for prime time.” During Governmental Affairs Conference activities this month, you’ll hear more about it and how you can get involved.
Take advantage of your advocacy advantage: millions of engaged and loyal members.