Jim Nussle

CUNA’s GAC is can’t-miss

When 5,000 people rally around a united cause, anything feels possible.

November 28, 2018

Right now, I should pause and take stock of the year that’s almost over.

After all, it’s been a momentous one. Together, we’ve achieved many lasting accomplishments on behalf of the credit union movement we fight for every day.

We won big legislative victories, stopped bank attacks, preserved our tax status at the state and federal levels, and ran a record-breaking campaign strategy to elect a credit union majority to Congress.

But I don’t feel like slowing down. Maybe it’s just the way I’m wired, but I’m too excited about the next big things we’re going to do together.

I’m already looking forward to CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC). As president and CEO of CUNA, maybe that’s not surprising. But I know it’s not just me.

Come March 10-14, more than 5,000 credit union people will arrive in Washington, D.C., for GAC, the credit union industry’s largest event.

These are passionate, dyed-in-the-wool credit union people arriving in our nation’s capital fired-up and ready to march our movement forward.

I think back to earlier this year, standing on the stage at GAC as a sea of attendees in the general session pulled out their phones and sent messages to their legislators live in the conference hall.

Between those of us at the conference and everyone watching at home via the livestream, we inundated our representatives with thousands of messages urging them to vote “yes” on the bipartisan, common-sense regulation bill, S. 2155.

We followed that up with Hike the Hill visits, telling policymakers exactly how their decisions affect credit unions and their more than 110 million members.

A delegation of credit union people even met with President Donald Trump.

You know what happened next: Shortly after GAC, S. 2155 passed the Senate and was signed into law in May.

GAC matters. When 5,000 passionate credit union people come together to rally around a united cause, anything feels possible. That feeling is electric, and I guarantee you’ll return to your credit union reinvigorated.

More than advocacy happens at GAC. The conference offers keynote speakers and breakout sessions from renowned speakers, the largest exhibit hall of any event in financial services, and a wide range of networking opportunities with leaders from around the country.

This year, former Massachusetts senator and Secretary of State John Kerry will deliver the keynote address. As the first sitting Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman to serve as secretary of state in more than a century, Kerry drew from this experience to provide the State Department with global stewardship on issues ranging from nuclear nonproliferation to radical extremists to humanitarian challenges and the rising threat of climate change.

His insights into our current political environment and America’s role on the world stage will be fascinating.

At the conference, you’ll take away best practices and glean wisdom from political, business, and media thought leaders; expand your credit union networks; and gain access to cutting-edge vendors in financial services.

But more than that, you’ll participate in an event that shapes our industry.

At last year’s GAC, not only did we help pass S. 2155—bringing real, lasting regulatory relief to all of America’s credit unions—we unveiled the Awareness Initiative’s show-stopping Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union creative campaign.

It’s in those moments—where you can feel our movement taking a step into the future right in front of your eyes—that you realize GAC is unmissable.

Will you be there?

JIM NUSSLE is president/CEO of CUNA.