As a new league president, I’ve been traveling around my state to have conversations with credit unions about how we can be a stronger movement. The recent national conversations that occurred as a result of the CUNA/NAFCU merger vote, culminating in the result of America’s Credit Unions, also prompts this question. I would encourage all to reflect on how we operate as individual organizations and as a system. This is an opportune time to challenge ourselves as a movement to be creative, nimble, and collaborative, as we lean into our strength of unity.
At the heart of the credit union movement, there is a profound sense of unity, which extends from the grassroots level to our state and national association partners. This unity is the bedrock upon which the credit union system has been built, and now, more than ever, it is this unity that will guide credit unions through the complexities of the future.
Collaboration over competition
One of the defining features of the credit union system, and one I value most, is the spirit of collaboration. It can’t be just a buzzword; it must continue as a fundamental principle for the greater good of the entire movement.
The spirit of collaboration and the unity that results ensures that credit unions of all sizes can thrive. Smaller credit unions can tap into the expertise and infrastructure of larger ones. Larger credit unions can learn from the agility and community ties of their smaller counterparts. Leagues collaborate with each other to offer new programming, professional development, and innovative solutions to benefit credit unions and the movement. Together, we form a formidable network of support that empowers all.
A unified voice
A united voice is a powerful voice. As we work together as credit unions, leagues and associations, our collective strength amplifies our influence in the halls of government. It ensures that the interests of members are heard and protected. And now we have the opportunity to make that influence even more robust.
Relevancy into the future
As the financial industry rapidly transforms, credit unions face several new challenges and opportunities. Unity within the credit union system can provide a strong foundation for embracing this change. We can share expertise in digital transformation, collaborate to develop innovative services and work together to protect members against emerging risks.
The unity within the credit union system is not a mere ideal; it’s a practical strength that sets us apart. This unity means that the entire movement can stand together in the face of challenges and seize opportunities to serve members better. It is a reminder that, in an ever-changing world, the principles of cooperation, a unified voice, and relevancy will continue to guide us toward a brighter future for all.
Edward Filene once noted, “Progress is the constant replacing of the best there is with something still better.” Let’s lean into our strength of unity and make it even better.