“The Best is Yet to Come!”
February 15, 2022
Editor’s note: The Northwest Credit Union Association and Mountain West Credit Union Association have formally announced a due diligence process to explore the benefits that a merger of the two organizations would bring to their respective memberships. In the following piece, MWCUA Board Chair and President and CEO of Littleton, Colorado-based Canvas Credit Union, Todd Marksberry, provides a glimpse into MWCUA’s approach to the possible merger and the potential this collaboration has to strengthen the Credit Union Movement.
As the President and CEO of Canvas, I’m often asked, “What’s it like to lead an organization?” Depending on the day, my answer might vary. The restlessness I feel never wanes from my daily experience. I feel the tremendous potential that credit unions possess. I also observe the impact created by our work with individuals, families, and communities. We have a responsibility to amplify our effects for even more people. With that level of possibility in front of us, I do not believe we have the luxury to exhibit patience.
That sense of urgency drove our decision as the Mountain West Credit Union Association Board to pursue a due diligence exploration with the Northwest Credit Union Association. In late 2021, as we became aware of Scott Earl’s impending retirement after many years of service to our association, the board of the MWCUA came together and appointed a separate succession committee.
As the committee discussed what might be possible, ultimately, what mattered most to us was expanding the impact we create as an association through advocacy, education, and community engagement. That committee explored many options, including a search for a new President and CEO, a management services agreement, or aligning resources with a fellow association. While all three options had potential, the organizational combination gave us the best chance to do more for credit unions and the members they serve most quickly.
As credit unions, our business model gives us the gift of time. We cannot let that gift fool us into a myopic view of what we can become. We are not chasing quarter-to-quarter results. We serve our members and their needs with a longer-term horizon. In 2022, just as when we were formed in the 1930s, people across our country need credit unions. To best serve them, we must move with a purpose to advance our legislative needs, better serve our communities, and share our story to engage even more members. We must blast past owning less than 10% of the market.
I’ve served on the association board since I came to Colorado nearly seven years ago. I’m proud of the rich history of the MWCUA. As I became the board chairman in recent years, I felt a strong responsibility to strengthen our focus on advocacy and invite an even stronger sense of urgency with our board and leadership team. We must be boldly driven by both that focus and a sense of restlessness during this transition.
We often talk as an industry about collaboration. We must put action behind our words. Should our comprehensive due diligence support our strategic desire to join forces with the Northwest Credit Union Association, it will be time for us to come together across six states. Collaboration does not mean that every individual or organization agrees in all ways. It does mean that collectively, we put the greater good first. In this case, we will leverage the strengths of both the MWCUA and the NWCUA.
I invite you to join me and share in my restlessness. Imagine a future where our combined strengths will ensure we bring legislative strength, engaging community efforts, powerful educational opportunities, and a path to storytelling that elevates awareness and drives growth. We have so much value to create for our members. As I always say, the best is yet to come!