Big Challenges Confronting Small Credit Unions

The entire CU movement is building a broad base of support to help small CUs survive and thrive.

March 01, 2012
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Speaking up

Another vital piece in the small credit union support system is CUNA’s Small Credit Union Committee. “CUNA wants to make sure small credit unions’ needs are heard and addressed,” says Committee Chairman Frank Michael. “That’s where the committee comes into play.”

Topping the committee’s agenda are four key issues, often called the Four C’s:

  1. Compliance, or regulatory burden;
  2. Collaboration;
  3. Corporates; and
  4. Continuity, or succession planning.

Not only does the committee draw CUNA’s attention to small credit unions’ concerns, but it also has established a dialogue with regulators. “We’ve had face-to-face meetings with NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz that have been very productive,” says John Graham, committee vice chairman and president/CEO of $59 million asset Kentucky Employees Credit Union, Frankfort. “We don’t go in criticizing and whining, but we say here’s an issue and here’s a potential solution. She’s been open to listening.”

Also on the committee’s radar is NCUA’s restructuring of corporate credit unions. Small credit unions rely heavily on corporates for their back-office functions. “We have to make sure those functions will still be provided at a cost small credit unions can bear,” says Michael, who also serves on CUNA’s Corporate Task Force.

This year, the committee is shining the spotlight on collaboration. A new website (
collaborate) will be a repository of credit union collaboration practices, which others can then replicate. To encourage people to submit their ideas, the committee is introducing a new national collaboration and cooperation award. (Visit the website for details.)

“CEOs of small credit unions are so busy meeting the day-to-day needs of their membership that it’s hard for them to focus on ways to collaborate,” Graham says. “We want to heighten awareness of collaboration and make it easier to do.”


  • CUNA:
  1.  2011-2012 Credit Union Environmental Scan
  2.  Training resources for small credit unions

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