Defense Credit Union Council Marks 50 Years of Service and Advocacy
WASHINGTON, DC (March 7, 2013)—Credit unions across America serving members of the military and their families are adding another milestone to their long and distinguished histories.
February marked the golden anniversary of the launch of their niche trade association—The Defense Credit Union Council.
To officially kick-off the year-long observance, council board members gathered at The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. while attending DCUC’s Defense Issues 2013 Roundtable session. The Mayflower hosted the council’s first national conference, an event where the organizational structure and by-laws of the association were unveiled and ratified by attending military credit unions.
Formed in 1963 and established as a separate and distinct trade association from CUNA (The Credit Union National Association), The Defense Credit Union Council, commonly referred to as DCUC, continues to remain faithful to its core mission, serving as the primary liaison to the Pentagon for credit unions operating on military bases worldwide.
“Back in the ’60s, credit unions serving the military came to the realization that their needs and challenges were unique when compared to their counterparts outside of the military gate,” explained Roland “Arty” Arteaga, President/CEO of DCUC. “Defense credit unions served a very mobile membership while others, a fixed-membership, defined by their special employment groups. Also, since defense credit unions were operating on Department of Defense military installations, they were subject to DOD policies governing those installations.”
Citing such unique policies and challenges, Arteaga noted the importance of establishing a niche trade association dedicated exclusively to the needs of military-affiliated credit unions, and one sanctioned to act as their liaison to the Pentagon. “They needed that liaison,” he affirmed.
Arteaga went on to describe one of the very first accomplishments of this new trade association; getting the Department of Defense to develop and publish a regulation for credit unions. He recalled, “We had credit unions operating on military bases as far back as 1928. They needed logistical support from the Department of Defense, as well as assistance in the ways they delivered their financial services. In my opinion, helping the DOD to establish those specific regulations outlining how credit unions operate on bases was a pivotal moment for the association.”
During the course of the past 50 years, the success of DCUC grew and developed to the point where today the association and its CEO of 13 years are a frequent and welcomed guest at the Pentagon, often seen knocking on its office doors. Arteaga describes this special relationship, noting, “I work very closely with the Pentagon; we’re their partners at the national level and our members are their partners at the installation level.”
While Arteaga is quick to cite the assistance of DCUC’s sister associations, he confidently asserts that there is only one trade association that delves deeply into the Department of Defense issues affecting on-base credit unions and that’s DCUC.
“I always say we are 10 miles deep in terms of DOD issues and our sister trades are 10 miles deep on national issues…we’re the only niche trade association that is expert in all matters surrounding credit unions on military bases, and given the number of credit unions on military bases supporting our troops, DOD civilians and their respective families, there’s still a great need for that expertise.”
In addition to DCUC’s recent board dinner at The Mayflower Hotel, Arteaga plans to make the golden anniversary observance extra special during the months leading up to the association’s annual conference in August.
Festivities will continue in April with DCUC’s sponsorship of the Credit Union Cherry Blossom’s 10- mile sister race for troops deployed overseas. The race is slated to be held in Kuwait on April 7, the same day it takes place in the nation’s capital. Proceeds will help fund the Children’s Miracle Network.
Another charity of the association, targeted for special support during this anniversary year, will be the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (IFHF). DCUC first supported the IFHF during its 46th Annual Conference, “Showcase with a Purpose,” donating raised funds to help ensure the construction of the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) in Bethesda Maryland and the treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). This year, NICoE is expanding its care and in so doing, is building two satellite facilities to further support troops inflicted by TBI, post-traumatic stress (PTS) and other combat related afflictions. Arteaga decided to again assist IFHF and adopted the Fund as the charity of choice for DCUC’s Golden Anniversary Conference.
April will also mark the association’s overseas sub-council meeting in Dresden, Germany co-hosted by Andrews Federal Credit Union. And, June will see the Midwest sub-council gather in Branson, Missouri, led this year by Mid-Missouri Credit Union. DCUC’s sub-councils meet annually to discuss issues related to supporting the financial needs of troops deployed abroad and stateside, respectively.
The crowning moment of this year’s festivities comes in August when DCUC members from across the United States gather for the 50th annual conference at The Greenbriar in West Virginia, a site that once served as the remote bunker for Congress during the Cold War. Arteaga promises that the annual gathering will be distinctly memorable and unlike all others, as it will celebrate DCUC’s distinguished heritage and its ongoing potential as the niche trade association for military credit unions.
He concluded, “We’re here to make certain we continue to support the unique needs and interests of our members for the next 50 years, and in doing so, help them to deliver the quality financial products and services that our troops need and so richly deserve.”
About The Defense Credit Union Council
The Defense Credit Union Council (DCUC) is a niche membership association representing the interests of credit unions operating on military installations worldwide. The Council supports its member credit unions and the Department of Defense (DOD) in coordinating policy, procedures and legislation impacting morale and welfare, financial readiness, and the delivery of quality financial products and services to DOD personnel and their families. Comprised of a total membership of approximately 210, DCUC member credit unions serve more than 18-million members. For more information, visit www.DCUC.org.