Jim Nussle

Shaping the future of our movement

There are many places for new leaders to stake their claim in credit unions.

May 25, 2021

Emerging leadership is an exciting topic for me. It suggests new growth; a new generation coming of age and putting their signature on the credit union movement.

It means that I, as someone from an older generation, can see our movement from a set of fresh eyes.

It’s one of the reasons I love speaking to the young credit union professionals—the Crashers—each year at the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference, and this year was no exception.

Even a digital meeting couldn’t dilute their enthusiasm, passion, and dedication.

I told the Crashers, as I do other young credit union professionals, you are the future of our movement. You choose every day to live and breathe the credit union difference, and you see its effect firsthand.

You exemplified that difference throughout the pandemic, and you’re with us on our mission to turn that hard work into policies that enable us to do even more.

While it may not feel like it, this pandemic will end. We’ll get our economy back on track.

It will be up to a new generation of leaders to not only build upon what we’ve done but to ensure it stays part of the lifeblood of our system.

There are lots of places for new leaders to stake their claim in our movement.

One finding of our Credit Union System COVID-19 Restart and Recovery Task Force was the importance of digitization. Whatever our digital plans were before the pandemic, they’re now on fast-forward.

I’m far from the cutting edge when it comes to technology, but our next generation of leaders was born into a mobile-enabled world, coming of age as the smartphone transformed our lives.

It’s that digital savvy which will lead our businesses and our movement into the future.

‘It will be up to a new generation of leaders to not only build upon what we’ve done but to ensure it stays part of the lifeblood of our system.’

Financial Well-Being for All

We just launched Financial Well-Being for All, which presents another opportunity for talented young professionals to lead our movement forward.

Financial Well-Being for All is the lens through which we exemplify the credit union difference. It’s about how we can better serve our members.

What can you do to lead your credit union in a direction that not only promotes financial well-being but adds that crucial “for all” element?

“For all” means we’re setting our sights high. There will be hard-to-reach places, but we’ve spent a century working to provide financial access to those very places.

Think about your community and what it would look like if every person had a sense of financial well-being; a sense that money isn’t a source of dread or fear but of hope.

I want to encourage the credit union movement’s emerging leaders, and even the leaders who haven’t emerged yet, to ask, “How will I take a leadership role in helping the credit union movement promote financial well-being for all?”

Answering that question honestly is how we ensure a thriving credit union system can work for our members well into the future.

It will make us a better movement collectively and, more important, it will help us do more for a new generation of members.

JIM NUSSLE is president/CEO of Credit Union National Association.

This article appeared in the Summer 2021 issue of Credit Union Magazine. Subscribe here.