Credit unions need to work together for the good of the movement, embracing collaboration as our “superpower,” says CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle.
“We do it better if we do it together,” he says.
Nussle, who addressed the 2019 African-American Credit Union Coalition Conference in Charlotte, N.C., says we need this superpower to address three challenges facing credit unions:
1. Attacks on the credit union model, including bank attacks and over-regulation. CUNA defends these attacks through its 360-degree advocacy approach.
“We need your help at all levels and in every community to tell our story and make sure our business model lives forever,” he says.
2. Market pressures. Banks outspend credit unions $43 to $1 on advertising. Plus, credit unions face threats from fintech companies and even nonfinancial companies such as Starbucks and Amazon which offer products that compete with traditional credit union services.
CUNA’s strategy to combat these threats is to raise awareness and consideration of credit unions using the Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union campaign to elevate the credit union brand, amplify current marketing strategies, and use targeted methods to reach consumers.
Credit unions have raised $40 million for the campaign, which is live in nine states.
3. Competition among credit unions. Nussle calls for cooperation rather than competition.
“You don’t see meetings like this in any other industry, where people come together to solve problems and help each other,” he says. “You see it in credit unions because of our cooperative superpower. We can’t let that atrophy.”
He encourages credit unions to seek out the “blue ocean” of for-profit financial institution customers.
“If we do it all together, we have so much to offer,” he says. “Let’s activate our superpowers.”
Nussle also reiterated the idea of adding diversity and inclusion as an eighth cooperative principle.
Former CUNA Board Chairman Maurice Smith, president/CEO of $2 billion asset Local Government Federal Credit Union in Raleigh, N.C., proposed the idea initially.
While credit union do much of this naturally, Nussle says, “we should put it first and forthright in the principles we stand for. We’re stronger when we put forth proactive effort to engage everyone in governance, management, and representation.”