2019 CUNA GAC opens with messages of cooperative impact and opportunity
Tuesday, March 12, 2019
|The 2019 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference is in full swing this week in Washington, DC.
Washington, DC--For a second-straight year, a record-setting crowd of credit union advocates have made the nation's capital their temporary home for the 2019 Credit Union National Association Governmental Affairs Conference (CUNA GAC). The family of 5,300 have a lot to catch up on, and more yet to do.
While the work for Carolinas credit unions comes on Tuesday and Wednesday on Capitol Hill, their first order of business has been to meet, greet, and get perspective on challenges, opportunities, and effort.
"There is a place for you in the market," CUNA's Tom Sakash assured participants in Sunday's Small Credit Union Strategic Planning Roundtable hosted by CUNA Mutual Group. Coach and facilitator Michael Hudson followed by leading the more than 150 on hand to focus on strategy and practice brainstorming for solutions.
Opening keynoter Alison Levine, who turned back from her first Everest climb but returned to summit the peak, set the tone for the week when reminding her afternoon audience that success is not in being the best, but in being relentless about taking one step at a time.
Messages throughout Monday's general session were of "Advocacy In Action"--seeing results of the past year, recognizing the roles and impact of credit unions, leagues, and CUNA--and of what awaits determined effort and cooperation.
- 2018 was a huge year for credit unions. Passage of S.2155, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, was the biggest pro-credit union legislative win in twenty years.
- And credit unions were there for members during the government shutdown, providing $48 million in low- or no-interest loans.
- Cooperative superpowers are "our best asset," CUNA CEO Jim Nussle declared--not only in what has been achieved but what can be done.
- Former Secretary of State John Kerry called for value-oriented leadership, and for making choices that show what we value. He also drew applause when addressing worldwide data and security: "It's long since time that we get serious about cyberspace."
- With credit union market share slow to reach double-digit percentage, the Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union awareness initiative is designed to grow consumer consideration. Very positive early results in Minnesota and the Carolinas invite greater participation. "To the extent we can grow the entire movement, we will benefit each institution," outgoing CUNA Chair and LGFCU CEO Maurice Smith added in the CUNA Annual General Meeting.
- "We believe the cooperative model is superior in financial services," Smith proclaimed in his chairman's report. "It is in our DNA to do the right thing for consumers."
- According to Consumer Reports in 2018, "Credit unions are among the highest-rated services we've ever evaluated, with 96 percent of members highly satisfied."
- By putting credit unions at the center of 360-degree advocacy, CUNA has become fierce and bold in addressing credit union issues, said CUNA Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan--and next is modernization of the federal credit union charter.
- The opportunities for proactive effort in inclusion--such as ensuring access for and perspective of the blind and bringing diversity into membership and leadership--align with credit unions' cooperative principles of democracy and voluntary membership.
Much has been said of credit unions these first days in Washington, and of more to come through focused, cooperative work. For the 154 here from the Carolinas, that work starts with Tuesday's steps toward the Washington Convention Center and Capitol Hill.
See more coverage from Washington in CUNA's Top Stories from the CUNA GAC, view our 2019 CUNA GAC gallery, get live updates from @TheCCUL on Twitter, and return to carolinasleague.org.