CUNA Chairman Pulls Back the Curtain on National Credit Union Strategies
October 2, 2012
October 3, 2012
Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Chairman Mike Mercer provided the first keynote address at the Northwest Credit Union Association’s (NWCUA’s) 2012 Convention and Annual Business Meeting (ABM).
Immediately following the ABM and the presentation of the 2012 Capitol Advocacy Awards, Mercer covered “three not-so-trivial topics”: public perception and understanding of credit unions, the future of the movement’s legal and regulatory environment, and strategies and plans for increasing the effectiveness of system-wide advocacy.
“I’ll save health care reform, education policy and the separation of church and state for my next visit,” Mercer joked.
What he did discuss was the common vision for the nation’s credit unions, spearheaded by CUNA President and CEO Bill Cheney and being carried out by the national association.
Those common values, Mercer said, are generally the building blocks of all legitimate cooperatives, including open and voluntary membership, democratic control, economic participation by members, autonomy tempered by cooperation, commitments to education and sustainable community development, and several others.
“The notion of common purpose is that credit unions fundamentally advance the well-being of people—and not third-party stockholders,” Mercer said. “With a common vision, there can be a common agenda, and this is where the tire starts to meet the road.”
“Genuine attention to this common agenda,” Mercer said, will result in tangible successes that can be measured as evidence of progress in as little as a 10-year span. These goals involve growing membership to 115 million, assets to $2.5 trillion and market share deposits to 8 percent. They also involve more broad goals, such as improved awareness.
“There are big questions that remain,” Mercer said. “Will U.S. credit unions be willing to put their shoulder to this kind of initiative? Will we really approach the future with a strengthened sense of interdependence? Or will we be cowboys taking our own trail?”
From there, Mercer discussed a national-level committee dedicated to innovation and a vision of the future of the credit union movement that could involve a completely different structure of representative leagues and associations.
“As you can imagine,” Mercer said, “none of these strategic issues are easy discussions. But CUNA is not shying away from the dialogue.”
Mercer is one of several keynote speakers slated to address Convention-goers this week, joining Neil Goldman, senior partner of Goldman Consulting & Strategy, Inc.; Arnold Kuijpers, director of corporate affairs for Rabobank Nederland; and Jeff Russell, who serves as senior advisor for The Members Group, president and CEO of TMG Financial Services, and chief strategy officer for Affiliates Management Company. More details on all three speakers and their sessions can be found online.
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