Increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the credit union movement is the right thing to do and is good business, CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle said Tuesday during NCUA’s DEI summit. Nussle participated in a panel moderated by CUNA Vice President of DEI Samira Salem on the credit union role in increasing DEI.
“We’ve always talked about ‘people helping people,’ and certainly in a time like this that’s needed more than ever. But we need to realize what that means for a new generation of people who have been on the fringes, who have not been included, so they understand they are welcome at a credit union,” he said.
Nussle said many credit unions were on a journey to increase DEI even before the tragedies of the summer of 2020 that started a larger discussion about racism in America.
“But those tragedies provided urgency, an impetus, and opportunities for credit unions to be leaders moving forward with this issue,” he said, adding that credit unions are in a unique position to serve as a cornerstone in this communities.
“What we’ve discovered in the last few years is that credit unions are often the only ones left. The independent community banks have left, have been bought up, or merged away so in many communities across the country the only locally owned and operated financial institution is a credit union,” he said.
Nussle also said DEI is the future of the credit union movement, for both members and employees.
“This next generation of talent is more mission-based, they want to do more than just punch a time clock and collect a paycheck, they want to know that they’re making a difference,” he said. “This next generation that is also looking at financial services, when they interact with a financial institution, they want to identify with it, they want to see themselves.”
National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors President/CEO Lucy Ito and National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions President/CEO Dan Berger also participated in the panel.
NCUA’s DEI Summit continues Thursday, and registration is free.