Strengthening advocacy for your military & veteran members and their families

by Defense Credit Union Council (DCUC)

Publisher’s Note: CUInsight is hosting a free webinar Wednesday, May 29 titled, “Strengthening Advocacy for Your Military & Veteran Members and Their Families”. We hope you’ll join us! Register here.

“The Defense Credit Union Council understands the unique opportunities and challenges that accompany the full military life cycle—whether a member is a young enlisted or a veteran of many years. We prioritize these important communities and know our member credit unions share this same responsibility and dedication to service,” said Jason Stverak, DCUC Chief Advocacy Officer (CAO). “For this webinar, DCUC’s goal is to help educate and equip your credit union with the tools and resources to strengthen your advocacy efforts on behalf of your military and veteran membership.”

Defense credit unions have historically been thought of as credit unions serving on or near military installations. But what our industry is overlooking is the fact that military and veteran communities go well beyond installation walls.

With at least one veteran within every zip code, and more military families moving off the installation, there is a clear need for our industry to better understand what it means to serve our military and veteran members, and what that means for credit union advocacy.

For decades, credit unions have served an important role in providing our Nation’s armed forces, veterans, and their families with the best financial services, programs, and education. No matter what stage of the military life cycle, service members and veterans need advocates who know how to “speak military.”

Our military and veterans experience unique challenges and opportunities during and after their time of service; having a financial institution that understands the ins and outs of their military life ensures these members are provided the best financial services.

So, what is a defense credit union?

A defense credit union is any credit union that has military, veterans, and their families in their field of membership, regardless of charter type or initial mission.

Defense credit unions are experienced in helping military and veteran members and their families with specialized services. This may look like providing guaranteed pay during government shutdowns, assisting with bill payments during members’ deployments, or protecting junior enlisted service members and veterans from scams and frauds that attempt to rob them of their benefits.

Defense credit unions also work very hard to keep predatory lenders off the installation and away from vulnerable servicemembers.

How can your credit union grow its advocacy efforts as a defense credit union?

Grow your knowledge of the military way of life: Recognize the challenges military personnel and veterans face, such as frequent relocations, deployments, and transitioning to civilian life. Tailor your services to address their financial goals and provide resources for financial education, home loans, and career planning.

Ensure your employees have a reasonable understanding of military culture, acronyms, and benefits. Include training that educates employees and staff on the unique needs and challenges these communities face and the importance of fostering empathy and respect in their interactions.

Add your voice on legislative & regulatory matters that directly affect your members: By understanding the unique needs and obstacles your military and veteran members face, your credit union can provide a stronger voice to top decision-makers in Washington, your League, and local and state representatives.

Stay up to speed with industry advocacy updates and letters shared by DCUC on military and veteran matters. Join conversations where other defense credit unions are sharing their insights and concerns.

DCUC offers its member credit unions the ability to join its Military Advocacy Committee (DCUC MAC) where credit unions are provided advice on advocacy issues affecting military and veterans, including legislative matters, regulatory policy, Department of Defense programs and policy, and other official matters.

Become a LICU to better understand and support the needs of lower-income service members: Create products and services that help military families with chronic issues such as food insecurity and lack of ability to save due to interrupted spouse employment and low income at the youngest ranks. Our low-income members are often the most vulnerable to scams and predatory lending practices. Being able to speak to their risks and challenges, and showing how we as credit unions can assist them, is a powerful way to gain support.

Celebrate diversity in your membership: Recognize that the military families in your membership come from all walks of life. Given the highly mobile nature of military life, they may be far from home and their support systems. Think about ways you can make them feel more at home in your communities and advocate for programs that go beyond your local communities. DCUC helps its member credit unions by offering its “Guide to the Military Blended Retirement System” in both English and Spanish to make sure service members and their families understand their retirement options.

Support proposed legislation such as the Veterans Business Lending Exemption: Veterans looking to transition are often drawn to opening their own businesses, yet banks are unwilling to make the microloans veterans are looking for. Supporting proposed legislation like the Veterans Business Lending exemption helps your credit union grow as well as provides economic growth for your area.

Don’t forget to join CUInsight and Defense Credit Union Council for our free webinar titled, “Strengthening Advocacy for Your Military & Veteran Members and Their Families“, on Wednesday, May 29. Register yourself and a colleague here.


Contact DCUC

Contact DCUC