A Powerful System Supporting CUs

Together, we have much to accomplish—and we will.

June 01, 2014
KEYWORDS Bill Cheney , cuna
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Last month at our full staff meeting in the Washington office (and my last one), I received a glimpse of your national trade association as it really is: vibrant, connected, engaged. And recent actions by the leagues reminded me again: We have a powerful system.
These quarterly meetings update staff on our efforts, celebrating milestones and spending face time with one another. Each department head briefs colleagues on what has been on the agenda and what’s ahead. It’s high level—and definitely overwhelming.
The issues, actions, and details our folks are tackling are staggering—especially when you hear it all at one time. I was aware of nearly everything I heard that day, but retaining it was like taking a drink from a fire hose: You’ll get some refreshment, but in a very powerful way.
In the course of my four years here at CUNA, that fire hose has been going full blast every day.
As members of this association, you should know: Your national trade association—especially its people—is pumping out the positions, facts, and figures to place credit unions on the path for growth and a better operating environment. Not a day goes by that your advocates aren’t working on your behalf to advance or protect credit unions.
I’ve been very proud to lead this group of professionals during the past four years. I know they’ll continue working on your behalf into the future.
CUNA staff do not work in a vacuum, of course. They’re supported by CUNA-member credit unions across the nation, in general—and by the state leagues and associations, specifically. The partnership between CUNA and the leagues is critical to success for credit unions.
Let me give you a recent, significant example. NCUA’s proposed rule on risk-based capital has been a source of great concern for us. We reached out to congressional offices to share our apprehensions. (To clarify, we support risk-based capital—just not this NCUA proposal.) Republican Rep. Peter King and Democratic Rep. Gregory Meeks—both New Yorkers and House Financial Services Committee members—heard us out, voiced their own concerns, and decided to detail them in a joint letter to NCUA. They also invited their House colleagues to sign the letter.
Just two weeks later, more than 320 House members had added their signatures to the letter, making it one powerful vehicle for expressing lawmakers’ concerns. When lawmakers expressed concern two years ago about new Basel III capital standards for banks, 199 members of Congress signed that letter—and it took nearly two months to collect those signatures.
The hundreds of signatures and the short collection time could never have been accomplished without the leagues. When members of Congress needed more information, they turned to the league in their state. When a league wanted its state’s lawmakers to know about the letter, the league reached out.
It’s as strong a system of advocacy as there is in Washington—and the envy of many.
This is my final “President’s Perspective.” I’m returning to California to be CEO of SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union in Santa Ana, Calif.
I’m sharing these images of your national trade association to make these points: You have an excellent team in place working tirelessly and effectively on your behalf. They’re backed up by the powerful structure of the CUNA-league-credit union threetier system. To get what you need and want, you have two of the three key pieces in place. The final piece: Your involvement.
I tell people that while I’m leaving my current role, I’m not at all leaving CUNA. At SchoolsFirst, I intend to be fully engaged and involved with my league and CUNA.
Please join me. Together, we have much to accomplish—and we will.

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