President's Perspective

Strengthening Our Political Engagement

CUNA is advancing a positive and aggressive agenda to support members’ interests.

January 1, 2015
Happy New Year! With behind us, we’re already looking ahead to an aggressive agenda where Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner.
Our work and our plans for the future stand on a strong foundation, built during the past century. We know that our members today have far more trust and confidence in their credit unions than customers have in their banks. Why? Because we’ve stayed focused on serving the best interests of credit union members.
The report card we get from these members is a great calling card for consumers who haven’t yet discovered the benefits a credit union membership provides.
For those who’ve already chosen us—the 100 million-plus memberships we celebrated last year—we can proudly report that we’re doing very well.
Every measure we’ve seen—the Chicago Booth/Kellogg School Financial Trust Index, the American Customer Satisfaction Index, Gallup and Harris Polls, and others—provides clear results: Americans who know us will choose us and stick with us.
The opportunity we have now—and I do see it much more as an opportunity than a challenge—is to elevate our work to advance the three goals of our shared vision:
1. Raise awareness; 
2. Remove barriers; and 
3. Foster service excellence.
A new Congress convenes this month and you can be sure CUNA is already on Capitol Hill getting to know its new members.
The state leagues are here, too, in a coordinated effort to bring local credit union voices to the discussion. In fact we’ve been working with the leagues since the election to introduce ourselves to all the new legislators.
On legislation, we made good progress last year. We passed critical bills in the House and Senate and even more out of committees that targeted specific areas where credit unions need regulatory relief. We’ll build on that success as efforts begin again to introduce new bills.
Tax reform is in the news—and credit unions must always stand ready to defend our tax exemption. Anytime Congress discusses tax reform, we must be especially engaged and alert—and CUNA is.
We’re also engaged in tax battles at state legislatures. The CUNA team is actively coordinating with the leagues, assisting wherever we’re needed to ensure they have the resources and tools necessary to push-back against attacks and advance a pro-credit union agenda.
At NCUA we expect to see the new risk-based capital proposal by the middle of this month. It’s significant that the agency will issue the revised rule with a 90-day comment period.
I’m hopeful that the proposal will reflect the concerns that credit unions raised in their thousands of comments. We’re ready for what will be an intense period of review and comment.
Whether on Capitol Hill or at government agencies such as NCUA and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, I believe the credit union movement is ready to do whatever is necessary to advance a positive agenda that represents the best interests of our membership.
Our political engagement has never been stronger, and we’re going to work diligently to strengthen it even more.
I’m honored to lead CUNA in this effort, and I’m confident we’ll achieve much together.
Jim Nussle
JIM NUSSLE is CUNA's president/CEO.