Netflix started its video streaming service in 2007, and recently surpassed more than 75 million worldwide customers.
Companies such as Uber and Lyft are disrupting traditional transportation services, challenging a stable, regulated business model that offered reliable service.
A few weeks ago, Walmart announced it was closing stores, acknowledging what most of us already know: Online retailers like Amazon have eliminated the need to leave home for the items we need to maintain and enjoy our lives.
Yes, disruption is all around us. It’s driving innovation and delivering value and convenience to people in almost every facet of their lives.
Need to borrow money? Quicken Loans, Lending Tree, and other competitors are challenging traditional norms.
Mobile payments are doing to credit cards what the cards did to cash and paper checks years ago.
For the credit union movement, relevancy in the age of disruption is the challenge of our time. Our movement, one that has brought prosperity and financial security to tens of millions of people over a century of service, has the opportunity to lead this change for the best interests of our members.
We must offer them the best financial services, bar none. We have a responsibility to meet them where they are—developing new tools that ease access to the services they need.
At the same time, we have an obligation to our members to evaluate what’s changing—protecting them from others who will put their own best interests above consumers.
Collaboration among credit unions, credit union service organizations, and others will be critical to building new services and infrastructure to meet their needs.
The changes happening in financial services and the role we’ll play in shaping the future are the focus of many recent gatherings, including the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference.
Our elected representatives have been hearing from you about how regulatory schemes designed for Wall Street barons are hurting credit union members. Washington rules are imposing regulatory costs that totaled $7.2 billion in 2014 alone, and there’s more to come as agencies continue implementing the Dodd-Frank Act.
Having earned the trust of our members, we deserve the trust of public officials through regulatory relief. But these days that pitch is difficult because most of America has lost confidence in their government to do its job.
So lead we must.
Throughout my travels, I’ll continue to listen to your thoughts and concerns and report on changes we’re implementing to make your association more accountable to your needs and priorities.
We’ve reduced dues income this year and are fine-tuning our strategic plan. We’re building on our successes in 2015.
In the weeks ahead, we’ll continue reviewing the proposed, modernized bylaws that will enable CUNA to provide more flexibility in how credit unions belong to and engage with CUNA. We’ll talk about how interdependence stands for a united system that’s the best advocate for credit unions, not mandated-linked membership.
Change is all around us, and CUNA is going to be part of it.
The time is right for us to elevate the commitment we’ve made for making a difference in people’s lives. Working together we can build greater consumer awareness of credit unions by telling our story that connects with people in new and sustainable ways.
I’m confident we’ll unite behind a strategy that moves from questions about “how” we’ll get there to declarations of “wow” about what we’re accomplishing together.
Let’s celebrate and proudly declare the value we deliver to our members and the country. Whether big credit union or small, let’s honor the common bond and values we share that make a difference on Main Street.
JIM NUSSLE is president/CEO of CUNA.