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CUNA Releases Strategic Plan

The Honorable Jim Nussle

(Credit Union Times) – In a letter sent to credit union members obtained by CU Times, CUNA revealed its 2015-2017 Strategic Plan, in which CEO/president Jim Nussle detailed how he plans to fulfill the three clear mandates he received from the board when he signed his contract last September.

Nussle wrote that success means growing and thriving, and he further detailed the trade’s 360-degree advocacy strategy to remove legislative barriers to members and to help credit unions grow. Nussle called the CUNA-League system unmatched and said his goal is to have 100% of member dues dedicated to advocacy. Suncoast CEO Tom Dorety, chairman of CUNA’s System Structure and Governance Task Force, first shared that shift in members dues with CU Times in May, after the task force released its findings during a credit union roundtable meeting.

Nussle also highlighted in his letter that the CUNA-League system as a whole employs more than 100 lobbyists and regulatory and compliance experts with advocacy funds.

Nussle further claimed that CUNA was responsible for defeating the efforts to tax credit unions on a state level, for expanding the field of memberships, holding merchants’ accountable on data security standards, for positive changes made to member business lending and for loosening regulations on credit unions who have long felt overregulation was the main cause for the loss of so many small credit unions every year.

He then stressed that no one credit union, or perhaps league, can accomplish the third mandate alone, which is to “unite and challenge the credit union movement,” not even his army of more than 100 lobbyists and experts.

“No one of us are big enough to go it alone in the hypercompetitive financial service marketplace or quite frankly in the corridors of power in Washington and the state capitals. These days we cannot win alone, but united together—no one can stop us,” he wrote.

Nussle went on to rally others to stand with him behind the credit union movement and promised support from both CUNA and CUNA’s leagues. He wrote that he planned to be transparent in “our shared challenges and opportunities as well as our victories and defeats.”

Attached to the letter was the 2015-2017 strategic plan (click here to view) for members to review, as well as a reminder for members to sign up for CUNA’s Member Activation Program, which gives credit unions ready-to-use advocacy messaging to their members.

The 360-degree advocacy plan highlighted the need to advocate further in Washington and in all 50 states on behalf of credit unions, and to use grassroots techniques to influence elected officials. The attached infographic (click here to view) stated the need for “asserting credit union interest in the courts,” supporting credit union-friendly political candidates and fighting regulatory burdens.

Along with that also came a strong message to create awareness of the benefits of credit unions to a vast audience through media outlets and to help consumers understand the benefits credit unions have to offer.

An infographic had CUNA’s achievements with a 93% credit union affiliation rate and a 94% credit union membership affiliation rate. It listed a 50% “very satisfied” score from credit unions with CUNA. CUNA Media Relations Manager Vicki Christner later clarified that those are the goals for the organization and the actual rates are 85% and 83.7% respectively, marking the first time, according to CUNA, the organization has shared its membership rates.

However, there was no mention of the controversial dual membership requirement or whether CUNA would be willing to reconsider it.

CU Times reached out to CUNA for comment on what appeared to be an effort to rebrand CUNA and its leagues to America’s Credit Unions, which was a recommendation by CUNA’s task force.

On Wednesday, CUNA’s website said attendees of the annual Legislative Summit of the National Conference of State Legislatures in Seattle “will see America’s Credit Unions volunteers in green T-shirts.” The CUNA story also included a graphic of a poster to be used at the event, which included the America’s Credit Unions branding.

Christner said there has been no permanent change to rebrand CUNA to America’s Credit Unions, however the brand is commonly used at the annual summit to connect with a non-credit union audience. She said it is commonly used as a public brand at a variety of events and functions. However, it was also been used to brand CUNA’s annual credit union conference, which is geared and marketed toward a credit union audience.

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