PHOENIX (9/25/15)--Calling on the more than 6,000 U.S. credit union CEOs, the tens of thousands of board members, credit union staff members, credit union service organizations and their staffs, and the more-than 100 million credit union members nationwide, Jim Nussle, CUNA president/CEO said Thursday that it’s time for the movement to marshal a credit union advocacy army.
In his remarks at the CUNA Community Credit Union and Growth Conference, Nussle said that the movement can maximize its success at both the federal and state levels if they bring every possible credit union voice to the table.
“It’s an advocacy army that we need to create in order to change the game,” Nussle said, adding that the movement must come together “if we’re going to be successful in removing barriers between us and our membership so that we can serve even more and grow.”
The conference is being held jointly with the National Federation of Community Development Credit Union’s annual meeting.
Part of amassing that advocacy army will come from credit unions getting involved in CUNA’s Member Activation Program (MAP), a new CUNA product. MAP allows credit unions to easily engage their members about issues facing the credit union industry through mailers and other forms of communication, according to Nussle.
“The most effective Washington advocacy organizations, the national organizations that are most effective, have figured out that it’s not a once-a-year Hike the Hill, it’s activating their memberships,” Nussle said. (See related story: Ryan Donovan)
“These are the things we need to get involved in if we want to change the game and we want to be more successful about getting our voice across in Washington,” he added.
Nussle also said that it’s vital for credit unions to tell the credit union story.
Credit union leaders can walk into offices with well-thought-out talking points about the various issues of interest to the industry, but the discussions won’t lead to positive results unless they can answer the most critical question a representative or senator might have, and that’s ‘Why is this important,’ Nussle said.
It’s important, Nussle explained, because credit unions, unlike other traditional financial institutions, make loans to help people, not to pad their bottom lines.
With an auto loan, for example, “we’re unlocking the opportunities and the independence that person has to not only find a job, but be able to keep that job to help their family,” Nussle said. “That’s the credit union difference, that’s what we’re doing.”