ST. PAUL, Minn. (3/2/15)--The Minnesota Business Journal received an education in the credit union difference recently, as Jim Nussle, CUNA president/CEO, and Mark Cummins, president/CEO of the Minnesota Credit Union Network, sat down with the publication to talk data breaches, legislative priorities and credit union growth.
At the forefront of the Business Journal's line of questioning was cybersecurity and the effect data breaches have on credit unions compared with banks.
"We are not-for-profits, so we don't have a lot of capital reserves lying around we can put toward added costs," said Nussle, who was in the Twin Cities last week to visit the league. "We're working with all our financial-services partners in Washington on legislation to push merchants to protect consumer data.
"In this day and age, it should be a given that you have a responsibility to protect the data of your customers, in much the same way the doctor's office has to protect patient data."
The Business Journal also asked if presenting credit unions as the "good guys" in the aftermath of the financial crisis, especially compared with big banks, has paid off for the movement.
In response, Cummins pointed to the recent strong growth in memberships, even among younger demographics.
"What we're hearing from folks is they're seeing a lot more younger members who are joining because of that base premise of us being a nonprofit model and operating in the best interest of clients," Cummins said. "They also don't view bigger as better. They've grown up during a time when they've seen that the security you once had as a worker for a larger national company is secure no longer."
Nussle also explained that easing regulatory burden for credit unions in general tops the list of legislative priorities for the credit union industry.
"Since 2009, when the big banks were failing, more than a dozen agencies have enacted over 190 regulations totaling nearly 6,000 pages," Nussle said. "If you're a small credit union, that's what you have to know just to open your doors in the morning."