Troy Stang
Troy Stang, CUNA Board chair and president/CEO of the Northwest Credit Union Association

Members are at the center of all we do

Telling our story successfully requires us to align our messaging.

February 25, 2020

Our credit union movement is filled with passionate people who care about the advancement of the not-for-profit credit union model.

Fulfilling the needs of credit union members with the most relevant cooperative solutions drives our passion.

In fact, our not-for-profit business model has enabled credit unions to be the trusted financial partner to 115 million member consumers across our nation.

Over the past 30 years, I’ve been fortunate to have served in this movement from nearly every perspective. From working in credit unions, to working in government in our nation’s capital, to currently serving as president/CEO of the Northwest Credit Union Association, the honor of serving on the CUNA Board of Directors also celebrates an important career milestone.

I now have served half my career working in credit unions and half in industry trade associations and/or in the public policy arena.

A family business

Credit unions are a way of life in my family, and I’ve always understood the credit union difference. During the 1930s, my grandfather and his siblings were involved in chartering a faith-based credit union—the same community credit union where I began my career in the movement.

I am proud of how Central Minnesota Credit Union remains steadfast in its commitment to the people and communities across my home state.

My credit union career progression took me to credit unions in the Midwest and Southwest, where I walked in the shoes of the credit union members we served.

Whether helping members and their families manage life between paychecks or fulfilling lifetime dreams, I saw firsthand how credit unions are an integral solution to ensure people, families, communities, and our economy prosper.

This movement has a lot to celebrate, especially with the diverse array of credit unions and people striving daily to evolve credit unions to ensure they remain relevant as the best financial services partner in the marketplace.

Generating and delivering real tangible cooperative value to diverse memberships and communities is what makes credit unions so different and superior to any other financial services model.

It was during the years I served as a political appointee at the U.S. Treasury Department when I gained a unique perspective on how policy was made, and learned firsthand that no one but us—you, me, and everyone in the credit union movement—will tell the credit union story.

Our story is made up of members’ stories of how credit unions contributed to their journey of achieving financial stability and success.

‘Only a united industry voice can influence policymakers.’


Telling these stories will ensure the cooperative model exists, evolves, and thrives for generations to come. There is no other financial services model that both serves the needs of its members and is directly accountable to those it serves.

“Credit union system” is a widely used and broad term for the partnerships among credit unions, leagues, and CUNA stakeholders in our movement. How we organize and deliver as a system is special, and we need to leverage this to maximize credit unions’ potential influence.

Generations of credit union advocates forged this important mechanism to share member stories at the local, state, regional, and national levels. And now we hold that responsibility.

Credit unions can’t reach their full potential without investing in and supporting a system that shapes our competitive environment. In my role at the U.S. Treasury, I learned that only a united industry voice can influence policymakers—and that is the task at hand for all of us.

My U.S. Treasury experience also piqued my interest in the credit union system leadership roles I’ve held ever since. I am deeply committed to ensuring that the structural model credit unions operate under is protected and advanced because it’s our structure that makes credit unions different.

This model will evolve its relevance if we can demonstrate the ability to deliver tangible value to members while making an impact in the communities we serve.

No one credit union or trade association alone can tell this story successfully. We need a systemwide effort to prevail.


Telling our story successfully also requires us to align our messaging. That’s why CUNA, leagues, and credit unions work together to bring advocates to Washington, D.C., every year for the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference.

It’s why our system has partnered to build a transformative campaign, Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union, to shed consumer myths and drive new consideration to credit unions.

Most important, these efforts unite our system’s message. We each have unique perspectives and real member stories to deliver, and we should always align our headline: Credit unions are the best solution for delivering financial services.

No other financial services model exists with a sole focus of cooperative product and service delivery.

Let’s say proudly and with conviction that over the past 100 years, we’ve never forgotten why we’re here: to support the financial advancement of people and communities.

Thank you for the honor of serving on the CUNA Board of Directors. I look forward to working with you and meeting you across our great nation.

TROY STANG is CUNA Board chair and president/CEO of the Northwest Credit Union Association.