Credit unions are powered by people for people. Our movement is only as strong, effective, and representative as the people who work at each and every credit union across the country.
It’s important that we recognize recruiting and retaining the best people takes strategy—it doesn’t happen all on its own. It’s the professionals and volunteers we attract today who will guide all of us into the future.
Our industry has been driven by passionate leaders for the last 100 years. We’re fortunate for their hard-fought wins and unwavering commitment to members.
This standard distinguishes credit unions from every other financial services peer, and it’s what has led 115 million Americans through our branch doors.
Attracting young professionals and volunteers is about more than just keeping our industry fresh and vibrant. It’s about keeping us relevant.
We’re seeing more competition than ever with the growth of fintech companies and the loss of community banking to mega banks. We have to recognize there are threats to our existence—and our ever-steady 7% market share isn’t a given.
None of this is news. Credit unions are already working hard to be early adopters of the latest technology while maintaining our personal touch with members. We’re marketing to younger generations and spreading the word that there’s a credit union out there for everyone.
These are all important steps, but they will need the right professionals and supportive volunteers to be successful.
This isn’t just about attracting young people to our ranks. We should consider diversity in the broadest sense of the word—including diversity of demographics and experience.
Credit unions serve 115 million Americans from all walks of life. Our professionals and volunteers should be the same.
What we’ll achieve by gaining more young and diverse people goes beyond just their perspectives and skills. It’s about the energy new talent can bring to the movement.
Take one look at the 100 Crashers who attended the 2019 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) and you’ll see how their energy transforms the room. There’s one word to describe it: excitement. They see our industry with fresh eyes and new ideas, and they’re ready to contribute.
But this isn’t about replacing our tenured and devoted staff. The perspectives and expertise of long-time credit union professionals and volunteers is absolutely invaluable.
What I’m suggesting is combining expertise with energy, institutional knowledge with outside perspectives. This combination will strengthen the movement and allow us to grow into the future.
This year, we’re celebrating the 25th anniversary of the CUNA Human Resources & Organizational Developmennt Council (and the CUNA Finance Council).
Many of us outside of human resources don’t realize the impact these folks’ strategic thinking has on everything we do. They make sure we have the best people in place to do our jobs.
It’s important to recognize their role, share our appreciation, and do what we can to promote employee diversity.
Credit unions are about people, not profits. We put our members first by providing the best rates and services in the marketplace.
But if we want to continue being the best option for Americans, we need to make sure we have both experienced and innovative perspectives to keep us relevant in the future.
JIM NUSSLE is president/CEO of CUNA.