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Nussle Urges NWCUA to Boost Advocacy: Onsite at Amplify

The Honorable Jim Nussle

(Credit Union Times) – CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle told an audience of credit union executives at the Northwest Credit Union Association’s Amplify Convention Tuesday that neither he nor CUNA can effectively advocate for the credit union industry alone, and urged Northwest credit union professionals to ramp up their own efforts.

(Credit Union Times) – CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle told an audience of credit union executives at the Northwest Credit Union Association’s Amplify Convention Tuesday that neither he nor CUNA can effectively advocate for the credit union industry alone, and urged Northwest credit union professionals to ramp up their own efforts.

Nussle delivered the keynote speech at the NWCUA’s opening session at Amplify, which drew around 700 attendees to downtown Portland, according to the NWCUA.

The former Republican congressional representative from Iowa said CUNA “overpromised” its member credit unions in that they were led to believe the association would handle credit union industry advocacy efforts on its own.

“Asking you to send me a check so I can hire more lobbyists isn’t going to work,” Nussle said. “If you want to move the needle, you have to engage real people in this business of advocacy.”

To demonstrate why it’s important for credit union executives and employees to make more of an effort when it comes to advocacy, he described several instances in which he tried to convince lawmakers in Washington to take action in favor of credit unions but was shot down. The first time, Nussle said, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) told him how much she loved credit unions, but still would not agree to exempt them from Dodd-Frank. In the second instance, a congressman, whom Nussle did not name, said he couldn’t vote on a credit union issue in Nussle’s favor because his political party wouldn’t allow him to.

He also said if credit unions want to be Americans’ best financial partner, then CUNA needs to be credit unions’ best partner.

Nussle briefly discussed the changes he has made and will continue to make at CUNA, including a $1.4 million budget reduction, which will be returned to member credit unions in the form of reduced dues in 2016. He added that CUNA plans to broaden its membership base and spend all of its dues income on advocacy efforts.

Following Nussle’s speech, NWCUA President/CEO Troy Stang announced to Nussle and the audience that his association’s board of directors passed a resolution supporting united coordination between credit unions, their regional association and CUNA to “advance world-class advocacy promoting credit unions.”

According to a news release distributed by the NWCUA, the resolution states that credit unions’ rights and structure as not-for-profit cooperatives must be maintained as an alternative to balance the nation’s credit structure.

“Advocacy isn’t just about passing legislation,” Stang stated. “It is about creating an environment for success for credit unions and credit union members, and doing so together as one system. No single person, single credit union, or single trade association can create that environment alone.”

Jack Fallis, president/CEO of the Spokane, Wash.-based Global Credit Union and board chairman for the NWCUA, added, “We feel strongly that advocacy is job one. Credit unions, the Northwest Credit Union Association and CUNA are better together securing unencumbered access for consumers to cooperative not-for-profit credit unions.”

NCUA Vice Chairman Rick Metsger, who served in the Oregon state senate from 1999 to 2011, also spoke during the opening session. He told credit union executives that since he began serving on the NCUA board, one of his goals has been to transfer decisions that were being made by the NCUA over to credit union boards where they belong. He named field of membership changes as one example, promising those in attendance that they will soon have more options for FOM expansion.

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