Cheney Unveils ‘Unite for Good’ Vision at CUNA GAC

Unveiling a vision more than two years in the making, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President and CEO Bill Cheney called for “one credit union story” to raise awareness. Cheney unveiled his “Unite for Good” vision during the opening session of the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) Monday morning in Washington, D.C.

Speaking to 4,200 credit union leaders and grassroots advocates gathered for the annual event, Cheney set a 10-year goal of having 50 million members using a credit union as their primary financial institution (PFI). While 96 million consumers already belong to credit unions, just 40 million currently consider their credit union to be their PFI. Cheney also noted annual savings to credit union households is $6-8 billion currently, but he set a goal of $20 billion by 2013.

“If we don’t define the future of our industry, someone else will do so for us,” Cheney said.

He told attendees the credit union movement is based on shared values; they are cooperatives engaged in collaboration, they are member-centric, and they are community-focused and dedicated to the ideal financial well-being.

Cheney discussed the bank lobby’s efforts to kick in the foundation of the credit union movement through an attack on credit unions’ tax status. He said the public—and even existing members—need to better understand the differences between banks and credit union. Credit unions’ advantage, he said, is the cooperative business model.

“Banks use people to make money,” Cheney said. “Credit unions use money to help people.”

Cheney pointed out that the opportunity for credit unions is ripe.

“There is a cultural shift happening in this country. It started with our younger generations,” Cheney said. “People want to do business with people who have their best interests at heart. This cultural shift is right in our wheelhouse as a movement.”

Cheney called on the nation’s more than 7,000 credit unions to unite and tell consumers and lawmakers one story.

“We need a shared story that we all believe about why credit unions are different.”

When the vision is reality, Cheney said, “Americans will choose credit unions as their best financial partner.”

Posted in Advocacy News, CUNA.