Over this week, I’ve had the distinct honor of attending the Defense Credit Union Council’s Annual Conference in Colorado Springs. Nothing is more noble than protecting the financial freedom of those who protect our physical freedom, as the NCUA’s Honorable Rodney E. Hood alluded to during his remarks. DCUC’s mission to serve those who serve our country is front-and-center in every event they host. This year the event included another notable session.
Earlier this month, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU) shared their intent to merge into one trade association pending a vote from their membership. If the vote passes, this new organization will be led by Jim Nussle and officially dubbed America’s Credit Unions.
This year, at the 60th anniversary event, DCUC President & CEO Tony Hernandez facilitated an insightful conversation between CUNA’s President & CEO Jim Nussle and NAFCU’s President & CEO Dan Berger in one of their first live joint appearances after the landmark announcement.
With a chance to sit in on this historic conversation, here are the key takeaways for credit union leaders from Jim and Dan’s remarks.
Future-proofing is the goal.
Dan and Jim were aligned in their message and made one thing very clear: the purpose for the merger, as they see it, is to ensure the future of our credit union movement. Jim shared that CUNA and NAFCU are “the strongest they have ever been,” noting that their respective boards did not come together because of problems at either organization. Rather, Jim shared, the goal of the pending merger is to ensure the industry remains future-proofed in the midst of continued consolidation.
Small credit unions continue to be a priority.
One audience member asked about how the trade associations planned to ensure small credit union voices would not be minimized. Jim shared that the proposal created for the new board ensures that small credit unions have seats at the table, just as it has been for CUNA and NAFCU throughout the years.
Alignment at the top.
As Dan makes plans to step down from his role beginning in January 2024, he shared about the extreme member service culture he built at NAFCU, and the many folks they were able to help in the industry. While Dan looks forward to spending time in Florida come January 1, Jim thanked Dan for all he’s done for the movement, calling him a class act, a great leader, and a great friend.
Feedback is welcomed.
Throughout the dialogue, Dan and Jim encouraged credit union leaders to fully lean into the process. “You are creating the next national trade association for credit unions,” Jim shared. Both Jim and Dan encourage feedback from their credit union members as the two organizations continue through the proposed merger plan.
One united voice for credit unions.
Jim wrapped up his remarks hinting at the possible impacts one united trade association could have, in what he dubbed “surround-sound advocacy.” Dan shared his thoughts succinctly: “Vote for it!”