Diversity presents opportunity

Diversity presents opportunity

GAC panel delivers insights into diversity, equity, and inclusion.

March 11, 2019

America will be a minority-majority nation by 2043, meaning people of color will make up a majority of the population, the U.S. Census Bureau reports.

Panelists delivered insights into diversity, equity, and inclusion within the credit union movement Monday during the 2019 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference.

Eric Hansing, CUNA Mutual Group multicultural and corporate strategy vice president, says diversity presents opportunity, and that changing demographics has “tremendous implications” to credit unions.

He says the iconic “Little Man Under the Umbrella” credit union logo from the early 20th century would look different today: “He would probably be a she and a woman of color.”

NEXT: Angela Russell

“When you tell me you don’t see my race you’re telling me you don’t see a part of who I am,” says Angela Russell, vice president of diversity, equity, and inclusion for CUNA Mutual Group.

“We need to understand that difference is good.”

NEXT: Samira Salem

Fifty-two percent of credit union CEOs are women, says Samira Salem, senior analyst for CUNA.

Plus, CEOs at larger credit unions are four times more likely to be female than CEOs at comparably sized banks.

Credit unions also receive a higher percentage of mortgage applications from people of color than other financial institutions.

Still, she says, much work remains to be done.

NEXT: Adrian Johnson

Adrian Johnson, senior vice president/chief financial officer for MECU of Baltimore, calls himself “a black guy” in a leadership position.

It wasn’t his talent and intelligence alone that got him in that position, he says, but rather the people he knew and the networks he was a part of.

Johnson says the African-American Credit Union Coalition, of which he is chairman, was formed in 1999 to provide those opportunities to other black leaders in the movement, noting their goal is more representation in credit union leadership roles.

“We’re going to be bold and we’re going to be fierce and we’re going to be intentional,” he says.

NEXT: Cathie Mahon

Inclusiv (formerly National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions) works to create a more inclusive economy where everyone has equal and fair access to pursue economic mobility and advancement, says President/CEO Cathie Mahon.

Unfortunately, she says, America has been moving in the opposite direction, with the bottom 90% earning less than half of all income.

The racial wealth gap is also widening: The median white household possessed $13 in net wealth for every dollar held by the median black household, and $10 for each dollar held by the median Hispanic household.

►Read more conference coverage from CUNA News, and get live updates on Twitter via @CUNA_News, @cumagazine, @CUNA, and by using the #CUNAGAC hashtag. You can also follow the conference on Facebook  and Instagram. For a complete schedule and information on keynote speakers and breakout sessions, visit the CUNA GAC event page.