Jim Nussle

Ready for an even brighter future

Our advocacy voice is strongest when CUNA and the leagues work alongside you.

April 28, 2016

Welcome to your new CUNA/league system.

The membership has overwhelmingly endorsed a modernization of the association’s bylaws, and with this historic decision, the credit union movement is now poised for an even brighter future.

This modernized framework through which we’re now operating ensures credit unions receive even more value for their participation in the CUNA/league system. It also guarantees credit unions across all geographic regions and asset classes will continue to have a fair and equal voice as credit unions change to meet members’ needs.

Despite these important changes, it’s clear you continue to want your association to be an effective voice on Capitol Hill, in every state legislature, and with regulators. And we maintain that our advocacy voice is strongest when CUNA and the leagues are working side by side with you.

Interdependence has delivered some key victories this year.

We partnered with the California Credit Union League to support Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., in introducing a tax reform bill this year that specifically stated no new taxes would be imposed on credit unions. We express our great appreciation to him for his continued support of credit unions.

We worked with the Cornerstone Credit Union League to leverage our unique status with the appellate court in Texas to dismiss a serious attempt by merchants to overturn a Texas law that prevents retailers from charging credit card transaction fees.

We’ve kept the drumbeat going to encourage NCUA to lengthen exam cycles for well-run credit unions. CUNA’s Examination and Supervision Committee, chaired by Cooperative Credit Union Association President/CEO Paul Gentile, has led the advocacy charge.

CUNA’s call to action on the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s current expected credit loss (CECL) proposal garnered nearly 1,000 comment letters from credit unions, leading to a revision in the proposal that provides more flexibility and a delay in the effective date.

Our work, in coordination with the leagues, led to the filing of 8,000 comment letters in favor of NCUA’s field of membership proposal.

Nearly 5,000 credit union activists came to the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference—our marquee event, in which the leagues play an especially important role. There, we pressed lawmakers on credit union interests and delivered CUNA’s cost of regulatory burden study, illustrating over-regulation’s impact on the industry nationwide.

And with critical leadership by the California and Ohio Credit Union Leagues, the CUNA/league system convinced more than 75% of the House to sign a letter to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray asking him to ease regulatory pressures on credit unions.

Even in these politically gridlocked times, I believe we’ll continue to find great success in advocacy—especially if we enhance collaboration between CUNA and the leagues, and our system partners.

And let’s not forget about you, the nearly quarter-million individuals who work every day to deliver the credit union promise, and the more than 105 million members we serve who are a critical link in our success.

CUNA’s Member Activation Program (MAP) is an important tool that allows credit unions to educate members and get them involved by facilitating interaction with elected representatives.

With MAP, we can better communicate to lawmakers the problems with regulatory burden. We can better communicate to regulators that credit unions aren’t banks and they shouldn’t regulate us as such.

We can raise awareness of the credit union movement. And we can improve our standing in the market and become an even larger thorn in the sides of the megafinancial institutions that, frankly, don’t deserve such a massive share of the market to begin with.

I encourage you to participate in this important initiative. It’s the next step in the evolution of the CUNA/league system—a system that continues to work toward the day when credit unions become every American’s best financial partner.

Great things are ahead.

JIM NUSSLE is president/CEO of CUNA.