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CU leaders note unity in One WorldOne Event
LAS VEGAS (7/12/10)—The theme was One World/One Event, and credit union leaders who opened The 1 Credit Union Conference’s general session Monday morning in Las Vegas marked the efforts of credit unions and the unity of the credit union movement worldwide.
Credit Union National Association (CUNA), William "Bill" Cheney told attendees at the CUNA and World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) The 1 Credit Union Conference, that credit unions made 700,000 contacts with Congress with 1,000 persons visiting the Hill on the interchange provision in the federal regulatory reform bill. "Those are strong numbers... but we can improve on that by engaging credit union members in credit union issues that matter to them."
“Bear in mind we are a global movement,” said new Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO William “Bill” Cheney at the historic joint conference of CUNA and the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU). “The U.S .credit union movement is just one part, but an important one. Through our WOCCU membership, CUNA will continue a robust, important role in the world movement,” he added. The conference theme “rightly conveys the unity of the credit union movement, worldwide. In fact, CUNA and the U.S. credit union movement stand in unison with the world-wide movement’s vision--as articulated in WOCCU’s vision statement: ‘to improve people’s lives through credit unions,’” Cheney said. Earlier, Dan Mica, CUNA’s outgoing president/CEO, passed the reins to successor Cheney, who promised to pursue U.S. credit unions’ regulatory challenges with renewed vigor. “Isn’t it great to be part of the world credit union movement?” asked Mica in a now-familiar greeting, passing an oversize “key to CUNA” to Cheney. In recognition of Mica’s 14 years of service at the helm of CUNA, the National Credit Union Roundtable’s Bill Raker, president/CEO of U.S. FCU in Burnsville, Minn., read a proclamation lauding Mica’s contributions. He also presented CUNA’s former CEO with an oversize check representing a $222,650 contribution on Mica’s behalf to Credit Union House in Washington, D.C. The donation was made up of contributions from the 100 largest U.S. credit unions that make up the CU Roundtable. Cheney spoke to the challenges still facing U.S. credit unions, including the recently passed interchange regulations, member business loan restrictions, and the need for capital reform and alternative sources of capital for credit unions. He acknowledged the hard work done by credit unions to date, but stressed the need for increased grassroots efforts in terms of both lobbying and education to oppose current and future legislation that could harm credit unions’ abilities to serve members. “We’ve seen very little growth in market share during the past 20 years,” Cheney said. “To remedy that, capital reform will have to be one of our top priorities. We have to be able to define our own future.”
World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) President/CEO Pete Crear welcomed "2,800 of my close friends" to the conference, noting that in 97 countries, 49,000 CUs served 184 million people worldwidein 2009. Credit unions have aggregated savings totaling US$1.1 trillion, their loans increased by $65 billion over 2008, and they are "helping a lot of members in a lot of places." (Photos provided by the World Council of Credit Unions).
The theme was carried through by Crear, who talked about the “one credit union movement” that WOCCU serves, illustrating the great need credit unions fill in many of the countries in which WOCCU operates. “It’s a movement that crosses boundaries and borders, has no language barriers and operates in as many different ways as there are members to serve,” Crear said. “The one movement is something of which you all are part.” Crear’s tour through Mexico, Kenya and Afghanistan culminated in a seven-minute video that looked in greater depth at WOCCU’s program in Haiti. “Our efforts in Haiti demonstrate clearly the need for strength, for unity, for hope and for commitment to the credit union ideal,” Crear added. “As long as we continue working together toward this goal, we will be the single best answer to the financial needs of all our members.” Nearly 2,800 participants from 60 countries are gathered at the conference, which ends Wednesday.
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