Jim Nussle

Movement must focus on financial well-being for all

March 2, 2021

Financial well-being for all is how the credit union difference becomes tangible for members, CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle said Tuesday at CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference. Nussle also challenged those in attendance to look at the heart of what they do every day.

“When you think about financial well-being for all, I want to challenge you to go even deeper,” he says. “I want to challenge you to look at your credit union bylaws, your business development plan, your advocacy agenda, and make sure that advancing financial well-being for all is informing everything you do.”

The CUNA Board voted Monday to approve a Unity Statement on the credit union movement’s commitment to advancing financial well-being for all.

Nussle also thanked credit unions for their service as financial first responders for members during a difficult 2020 and called on attendees to help leverage that good work into policy that will allow credit unions to do even more.

“We need to back up our stories with facts and data that paint a clear picture of the difference you’ve made in people's lives, in your communities, the jobs you’ve saved, the paychecks you’ve protected, the houses you’ve kept people in,” Nussle says. “By literally showing our work, by quantifying our impact at the local, state, and national levels, we demonstrate that credit unions are truly focusing on the needs of members first.

“By taking our stories to the next level, by turning them into undeniable portraits of what the credit union difference is capable of, that’s how we start to turn our hard work into impactful policies that will help credit unions make real progress toward achieving financial well-being for all,” he adds.

Nussle says credit unions are capable of telling the kinds of stories that stick out, and those are the stories credit unions need to tell policymakers.

“When it comes down to it, when they’re sitting around thinking about putting their name on that piece of legislation, and they’ve had someone in their district tell them exactly how this bill will directly help put one of their constituents on the path to financial wellness or recovery, that’s when our stories make an impact,” he says. “Our stories are the kind that transcend party lines or economic policies, but only if the people who make the policy hear them. Modesty and humility are all good things, but they aren’t going to help us secure a place for credit unions in the 21st century economy. Telling our stories loudly to whoever will listen will.”

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