MADISON, Wis. (9/21/15)--CUNA’s Board of Directors met last week to review and consider the System Structure and Governance Task Force’s findings and recommendations. The Board distributed the Task Force report to member credit unions Friday.
The Board voted on several resolutions in response to the Task Force’s recommendations that will enhance the close partnership between CUNA and the Leagues and further strengthen their shared advocacy efforts on behalf of CUNA’s member credit unions.
CUNA Board Chairwoman and Woodstone CU President/CEO Susan Streifel thanked the Task Force and emphasized the Board’s primary takeaway from the report.
“The Task Force report is the result of a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication from its members. We are grateful to the Task Force for evaluating the value of the CUNA/League system and challenging us to work together to build an even stronger future for credit unions,” Streifel said.
“While the Board did not adopt all of the Task Force’s specific recommendations, we embrace what we consider to be the central conclusion of the report: Advocacy must be at the heart of CUNA’s purpose. In order to be the most effective national advocacy organization, CUNA and League interdependence is essential,” Streifel said.
Streifel added: “As any representative organization must, CUNA recognizes that constant innovation and improvement is essential to best serve our membership most effectively, powerfully and nimbly. The Board looks forward to working with CUNA management to continue to innovate how we operate so that we are always best-positioned to advance the interests of our credit union members.”
Task Force Background and Recommendations
The System Structure and Governance Task Force was established by the CUNA Board of Directors in 2014 to review and make recommendations concerning CUNA’s governance and structure and the operation and effectiveness of the CUNA/League System in providing trade association services to credit unions. Its work included significant study and research with credit unions, Leagues and system partners. The Task Force included representatives from all sectors of the credit union system.
The Task Force report cited credit union advocacy as the heart of its deliberations and recommendations, which included enhancing cooperation and interdependence between CUNA and Leagues, streamlining the CUNA Board structure and offering credit unions choice of membership in CUNA and/or a League. Task Force members strongly believe that an enhanced, interdependent credit union system is critical to achieve the strongest advocacy results.
CUNA Board Actions
The Board, after thorough review and consideration of the Task Force recommendations, voted to adopt resolutions that will enhance advocacy efforts on behalf of CUNA’s member credit unions by strengthening the close partnership between CUNA and the Leagues.
The Board believes the most effective advocacy model for credit unions is one in which credit unions are members of both their League and CUNA. As a result, the Board took action to preserve the current membership structure.
In response to the Task Force’s conclusion on advocacy being CUNA’s top priority, the Board has taken steps to ensure that its Advocacy Committee – formerly called the Government Affairs Committee – is best positioned to serve the unique and vital advocacy needs of member credit unions. This realignment reflects changes already put in place in CUNA’s Advocacy Department. The Advocacy Committee will have expanded reach and scope beyond its predecessor committee, including an enhanced subcommittee structure designed to optimize CUNA’s advocacy effectiveness.
The Board also voted to maintain its current size of 24 directors. The Board referred other Task Force recommendations regarding its nomination process and governance policies to an ad hoc committee to be appointed by Chairwoman Streifel. That committee will report its findings back to the full Board.
Streifel provided context for the Board’s decisions.
“The Board believes that by working together, CUNA and the Leagues are best able to serve credit unions, whether it’s through advocacy or member services,” Streifel said. “CUNA is dedicated to changing and evolving. At this juncture the Board believes that the current membership structure is optimal.”
“We believe the current Board size is effective and reflects the enormous range of geographies, asset sizes and distinct needs of our member credit unions,” Streifel said. “The committee will look at the Board’s nominating process and governance policies and report back to the Board with any suggested amendments.”
Tracie Kenyon, chairwoman of the American Association of Credit Union Leagues (ACCUL) and president/CEO of the Montana Credit Union Network, welcomed the opportunity to work even more closely with CUNA.
“The Leagues and CUNA have a long track record of working together and achieving great success for credit unions. Further unifying the credit union system and strengthening the Leagues’ partnership with CUNA is paramount. CUNA and the Leagues look forward to continuing to enhance our unparalleled network in serving the needs of credit unions,” Kenyon said.
CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle said CUNA will develop and implement plans to ensure interdependence and strengthen CUNA’s advocacy power.
“A more unified CUNA/League System will enable us to be an even more strategically focused and efficient organization. We understand our members’ demands for value, and we will be focused on delivering results,” Nussle said. “Well-planned and well-executed strategic changes will transform CUNA into an even more inclusive and accountable association.”