The credit union system is as diverse as the communities it serves. And just as credit unions continued lending while banks pulled back during the financial crisis, small credit unions are still working hard in their communities while the big banks are pulling away.
These credit unions are the lifeblood of the industry—a way for unbanked and underbanked populations to access the financial system to build credit, purchase a home or vehicle, save for the future, and get their small businesses off the ground.
At CUNA, we know how important these credit unions are for the system and for their members, and we’ve seen firsthand the possibilities and challenges these institutions face.
One consequence of the one-size-fits all regulatory regimen CUNA is working to fix is that small credit unions face the same compliance challenges as their larger counterparts, only with fewer resources.
CUNA is mindful of these limited resources, and we want to make sure small credit unions can focus as much time and attention as possible on their members.
Our Small Credit Union Committee continues its excellent work both tracking and handling issues concerning small credit unions and promoting unity among all credit unions.
This committee provides us with direct information from those credit unions and helps us plan, develop, and execute strategies to enable these institutions to grow and thrive.
As you read this, the committee is working hard to refine its efforts on advocacy issues to better serve and support small credit unions. Its members also are deciding how to communicate their work more broadly to the industry.
We launched our Small Credit Union Community earlier this year so small credit unions can connect with their peers nationwide. This free networking resource allows small credit unions to share best practices and provide answers to challenging issues they face.
Every day, small credit union leaders use the community to discuss everything from marketing to employee training.
We also have an eye on the future and on what services and resources small credit unions will need going forward. CUNA remains committed to evolving right alongside them.
That’s why we recently turned our Small Credit Union Liaison into a full-time Small Credit Union Adviser position that will ensure our service to small credit unions remains consistent and can adapt to what these institutions need.
This position will maximize the value of our Small Credit Union Committee’s work by building relationships, identifying needs and challenges, and providing needed resources.
CUNA is working on more impactful experiences at the Small Credit Union Roundtables conducted during CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference and the America’s Credit Union Conference. We encourage you to attend these signature events to network and share knowledge.
For those who can’t attend, we’ve committed to share what we learn at these events so we all benefit.
The credit union movement’s future is bright, and we’re working every day alongside small credit unions to ensure they grow and thrive with it.
JIM NUSSLE is president/CEO of Credit Union National Association.
► This article appeared in the December issue of Credit Union Magazine