CUs Kept Lending When Others Curled Up in a Ball

As the economy regains its footing, CUs seek to do even more.

March 1, 2011

On behalf of the CUNA board, it’s my pleasure to welcome you to the 2011 Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC)—the credit union movement’s premier political event. I thank you for choosing to be part of it.

For all the terrific speakers who appear before us on the GAC’s main stage and in our breakout sessions, it is you—the leaders of the credit union movement—who give this conference its unique energy.

The political dynamism that occurs when more than 4,000 of us join together to bring our message to Capitol Hill is something wonderful to behold, and it could not happen without your involvement.

These past few years have been challenging ones. Credit unions did not cause the financial crisis, but like so many others we have felt the strain of the ensuing economic recession.

Yet when other financial institutions curled up in a ball, credit unions kept on lending and finding innovative ways to help our members cope.

As the economy regains its footing, we seek to do even more. I can cite many such examples from my credit union, and I know you can from yours, too.

These are the real-life examples we must convey to our members of Congress when we meet with them this week. Help them understand how supplemental capital and a higher member business lending cap will increase our ability to serve our members, and how the growing volume of costly regulation too often holds us back.

These are our priorities. You help give them voice by being part of this conference.

Your commitment to political involvement—at the GAC and at home throughout the year—provides the core strength at the grassroots level that has done so much to distinguish CUNA and the credit union movement in Washington.

Let’s give it our all at the GAC this week. Together, we’ll achieve a great deal for credit unions and the 92 million consumers we so diligently serve.

HARRIET MAY is CUNA’s chairman and president/CEO of GECU, El Paso, Texas.