If we don’t define our own vision, others will define it for us,” CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney told attendees Monday morning. “And our adversaries, such as the ABA, would love to define that vision for us—they’d like to see us revert to how we were in 1934.”
Cheney outlined a shared, strategic vision for the credit union movement that is the culmination of many months of research, surveys, and focus groups involving credit unions, leagues, CUNA’s board, and system partners. The shared, strategic vision is called “Unite for Good,” and it revolves around this shared vision: Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner.
The Unite for Good vision is based on these shared values: cooperative, collaborative, member-centric, community focused, and dedicated to their members’ financial well-being.
“Credit unions have always worked to advance the financial well-being of Americans,” Cheney said. “It’s time we unite around a strategic vision that brings us together, guides us, and helps us achieve a shared agenda.
“We don’t want to be 7,000 credit unions with 7,000 scattered, diverse stories,” Cheney said. “We want to be 7,000 credit unions repeating one strong story 7,000 times. That’s what results in effective, successful communication.”
To make that vision a reality, Cheney urged all credit union attendees to collaborate, learn from each other’s successes, and tell a united credit union story. He urged all credit unions to:
- Remove barriers by actively participating in credit union grassroots activities and the political process;
- Create awareness by expanding your credit union’s outreach and image in your communities; and
- Foster service excellence by offering diverse financial services that continuously evolve and improve to meet the changing needs of all members in any life stage.
“Credit unions have a unique advantage,” Cheney said. “We put people over profits, we are financial institutions with a conscience, and we focus on and are built around our members’ needs.
“Someone once observed the difference between banks and credit unions this way: ‘Banks use people to make money; credit unions use money to help people. People—especially younger people—want to do business with organizations that have their best interests at heart, and those organizations are credit unions.”