Jim Nussle

Advocacy is about partnership

We need collaboration to build an agenda based on members’ wants and needs.

February 10, 2023

Advocacy is as much about looking ahead as it is working in the present, and CUNA spent the closing months of 2022 shaping our advocacy agenda for this year.

It began, as it always does, with collaboration.

CUNA works with Leagues and our committees and subcommittees to find out what’s on your mind, what’s keeping you up at night, and what opportunities you see in the year ahead.

We at CUNA don’t take this input for granted. We exist to be your champion, and that means focusing our time, resources, and attention on what you want and need.

It’s then incumbent upon us to balance this agenda with the realities on the ground in Washington, D.C., and state capitols.

That includes the priorities we’re confident we can achieve, as well as some policies we feel we can get across the finish line with the right engagement and support.

This initial collaboration that takes place is to ensure we build our agenda on the correct foundation: the wants and needs of our members.

That kind of partnership—from the start—is why Ballast Research has named the CUNA-League

system as the most influential financial services trade association for the past six years.

In 2022, we were elevated to the most credible trade association across all industries.

‘Our advocacy success means increased partnership between credit unions and member.’

It’s a great honor, but something we can’t take for granted. We must prioritize continued communication to make sure our members’ voices are consistently represented through all the noise.

The Ballast results are evidence of a successful partnership and

recognition that when CUNA, Leagues, and credit unions work together, things get done.

This record of success keeps us pushing for more. That’s how we arrived at financial well-being for all.

Too many consumers suffer from poor financial health, and this was true even before the pandemic.

Financial well-being for all is us reaching for the stars, thinking as big as we can, and being as inclusive as possible.

That’s why the “for all” part is so crucial. We’re setting big, system-changing goals, and we have to emphasize that in our advocacy.

“For all” is so important. It resonates with policymakers because it shows we’re about inclusion, expanding opportunities, and reaching new communities while too many other financial services providers focus on quick profits.

“For all” means better service to blue states and red states, remote rural districts, and dense urban districts.

Partnership is becoming less and less common in Washington, D.C., and it’s how we stand out in increasingly divided times.

Legislators want to get things done, they want to move policy forward, and they want to do right by the communities that elected them.

Credit unions are their partners in advancing these communities, and we’re ready and willing to collaborate on policies that achieve this aim.

Ballast found we’re the voice of the financial services industry because of how we excel at providing data and research showing how policies impact the average consumer.

We’re unique in that we come into meetings with legislators with ways we can help consumers and communities, not with a wish list of ways legislators can help CUNA, Leagues, or even credit unions.

Our advocacy success means increased partnership between credit unions and members, and ultimately better financial outcomes for those members.

This partnership continues to pay off as members increasingly look to credit unions to meet their financial needs in good times and bad.

We know credit unions are unquestionably consumers’ best financial partners, and it’s more important than ever to get that message out.

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

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