Changes occurring in Washington, D.C., this year bring an opportunity for credit unions to achieve true, meaningful regulatory relief, and that will require a strong, cohesive voice, said outgoing CUNA Board Chair Rod Staatz.
Staatz, who is also president/CEO of $3 billion-asset SECU in Linthicum, Md., spoke about the importance of engagement and advocacy at the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) Monday.
“We hope, and we really think, that more than any year in recent memory there will be opportunities. Are we going to be at the table with a strong voice? Or are we going to be on the menu?” he said. “We all realize regulation has gone too far. We are pro-consumer, we are pro-member, and we are pro-regulatory reform. Our story needs to be told and understood with facts and real implications. That will make a difference with your congressmen and senators.”
He went on to share feedback he’s heard from congressional staffers on ways credit unions can differentiate themselves from the other groups that meet with officials. He recommended credit unions come in with “useful, unbiased information,” which is something few groups do.
Staatz also cautioned against relying too heavily on talking points, citing a former staffer who said it can be difficult to get specifics from groups as the conversation gets deeper into the effect of regulations.
“What we do for our members is fundamentally different than from what banks to do for their customers. Who do we exist for? We exist for our members. How are we going to tell that story? … We want results, not just rhetoric,” he said. “Our members are counting on us. It’s time to make a difference.”