I recently spoke with the latest CUNA Management School graduating class. It was a special opportunity because it allowed me to talk directly to a group of future credit union leaders.
I happen to think credit union leaders—past, present, and future—are a special bunch.
They amaze me with the financial services background and skills they bring to this movement. And I’m inspired by their confidence and knowing they’re using all their motivation, skills, and knowledge to serve members and communities, not Wall Street and shareholders.
Credit union leaders run their teams, branches, and institutions, but they’re also tireless advocates for the people they serve. They meet with policymakers, activate members, and make sure their credit unions are an essential part of the fabric of their community.
When I meet with credit unions and leagues—and this is especially true over the last year—I’m blown away when I hear about the day-to-day work these leaders put in.
I’ve learned about weekdays that consist of connecting with members in the morning, meeting with policymakers over lunch, and then working late into the night to make sure members’ loans went through.
That’s the kind of work these leaders take on. And, as it is within our movement, diversity is a part of what makes leaders great.
Everyone comes from different backgrounds and has different experiences that lead them into the credit movement. And it’s that diversity that will help you lead the credit union movement where it should go.
Credit union leaders not only live the credit union difference, they sustain and evolve it. And they have something that leaders in most other fields don’t: cooperative superpowers.
I use that phrase a lot, but it’s intentional. They are superpowers. Your fellow credit union leaders aren’t your competitors, they’re your partners in living the credit union difference.
Our cooperative superpowers mean we can do remarkable things—like give more people access to safe and affordable financial services—together. I ask you as a credit union leader, how will you use your cooperative superpowers to accomplish that?
Credit unions aren’t an industry or a business, they’re a movement. A movement of people helping people.
The phrase describes who we are, why we’re together, and what we do and hope to do.
It also captures what it is to be a credit union leader. You help people—your team, your credit union, and your members. Keep leading the charge.
JIM NUSSLE is president/CEO at Credit Union National Association.