CUNA CEO Jim Nussle: Engage Real People in Advocacy

CUNA President and CEO Jim Nussle told Amplify attendees, “Sending me a check so I can hire lobbyists won’t work,” Nussle said. “There’s only one strategy that will work. If you want to move the needle, you’ve got to engage real people in this business of advocacy.”

CUNA President and CEO Jim Nussle opened his Amplify keynote with a call to change the way advocacy is done. “In order for us—credit unions and the movement—to make the change we want to see, we’ve got to change, we’ve got to do things differently than ever before,” he said.

Nussle shared three stories of recent interactions he had with legislators in Washington D.C. in which, although they agreed with him on credit union issues, they would not make the votes he requested.

“Let me tie all three of those stories together. Sending me a check so I can hire lobbyists won’t work,” Nussle said. “There’s only one strategy that will work. If you want to move the needle, you’ve got to engage real people in this business of advocacy.”

He pointed out that AARP is the most effective advocacy group in America because they engage real people to call their elected officials.

There are 6,000 credit unions in the U.S., he said, which means 6,000 CEOs that can engage on credit union issues. “Typically we get 500 or 1,000 who engage,” he said.

Those 6,000 credit unions also have 80,000 board members and 260,000 employees. “That’s over 300,000 people,” said Nussle. “You can move the needle with that.”

Then he pointed out that there are over 100 million credit union members across the U.S. “Troy told me that you have 35-40% market share here in the Northwest,” he said. “You can move the needle with that.” He encouraged credit unions to educate their member-owners on credit union advocacy.

“For me this is about growth,” said Nussle. “I want credit unions to grow in their memberships, their assets, and their market share. We’re putting all your dues to advocacy because that is job one. Training, education, and all the other things we do are important, but if we can’t finish job one, none of that matters.”

“We’re stronger together,” Nussle closed. “CUNA, leagues, CEOs, board members, credit union professionals, and members.”

Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790, jpearson@nwcua.org.

Posted in Advocacy News, CUNA.