Co-Ops for Change Celebrates Achievements of First 30 Days; Prepares for Phase 2, “Raising Our Voice”

WASHINGTON, D.C.  (April 8, 2013) – In a little more than a month, Co-Ops for Change has begun building awareness of a new vision for regulatory leadership. To date, the campaign has collected nearly 6,000 petition signatures, calling for regulatory leaders who support the cooperative business model. It also has brought to the forefront the need for credit unions to educate – and mobilize – members, helping them find their voices on issues of common concern and interest.

 “Mustering 6,000 supporters in a month is not a small success, and we’re very pleased with the progress made in creating awareness of the issue,” said Chip Filson, Co-Ops for Change founder and Chairman of Callahan & Associates. “At the same time, a key lesson from the first 30 days is that many CEOs don’t have a mechanism to quickly activate member support, and some don’t have standing authority to select and approve messages that advance cooperative principles.”

To remedy this, Filson says Co-Ops for Change is ready for the next phase, the details of which will be announced later this week. “We’re creating a forum for a number of industry-wide issues, as well as continuing the petition drive,” he said. “And we will provide ongoing examples of cooperative principles in action – at the heart of credit union business model and vital for regulators to take into account.”

Many credit union leaders throughout the country concur with the need for a regulatory process that considers the mutual self-help mission. David Doss, President/CEO of Arizona State Credit Union in Phoenix says there is no doubt a regulator needs to ensure safety and soundness. However, there also is a compelling need for credit unions’ chief governance to support the value of cooperatives and help assure an environment conducive to a strong, healthy industry.

“I think our industry needs transformation, not just transition,” Doss said. “To do this, our governance structure also must be transformed. We need credit union executives and volunteers to be more engaged in the selection of regulatory leaders. Credit unions understand our challenges today and our needs for tomorrow.”

Tom Graham, President/CEO of SunCorp in Denver, believes the current process has resulted in some good Board members, including Ed Callahan and Dennis Dollar, but that a more transparent method is needed.

“Ideally, a new selection method would create public awareness, not only in the credit union movement, but also in Washington, D.C.,” he said. “It would include establishing an open dialogue to find and publicly debate regulatory leadership that is cooperatively based, and will support our mission.”

To support the call for a transparent process, Filson says petition signatures will continue to be gathered directly on the Co-Ops4Change website and added to those from the past month. Co-Ops for Change will encourage those in the credit union community who’ve already signed the petition to record their numbers by clicking on the site.

“This campaign is about creating capabilities to bring out the credit union voice more effectively at key times,” Filson said. “It’s not just about winning now, but also about sustaining a focus on cooperative principles far into the future – and certainly beyond the attention span of the typical news cycle.”

About Co-Ops for Change
Co-Ops for Change is a grassroots movement to increase awareness both within the credit union community and among elected policymakers that our regulatory leadership should understand and support the cooperative principles. The regulatory process should consider credit unions’ cooperative character, as well as the shared economic value they create for people and communities. Credit union members, volunteers, professionals and industry supporters can learn more about the campaign at

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