"No matter your role at a credit union--you could be a hired strategist or an elected official--the highest form of gratification is to know that what you do makes a difference," Mike Mercer, CUNA chairman and president of Georgia Credit Union & Affiliates, told attendees of the Texas Credit Union League annual meeting Wednesday. (Photo provided by the Texas Credit Union League)
FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (4/20/12)--The chairman of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and several other speakers told Texas credit unions that they make a real difference for members at many levels, during the Texas Credit Union League (TCUL) annual meeting Wednesday.
"If you're like most people serving in the credit union movement today, you likely discovered your credit union professional or volunteer career by accident," CUNA Chairman and President of Georgia Credit Union & Affiliates Mike Mercer told attendees (LoneStar Leaguer
"I was supposed to be a rock star," Mercer said. "But I soon discovered I wasn't very good at it."
Instead, Mercer went to college, studied finance, and by accident, discovered credit unions. "After college, I had planned to go to Wall Street, but I found my passion was credit unions," he added.
"No matter your role at a credit union--you could be a hired strategist or an elected official--the highest form of gratification is to know that what you do makes a difference," said Mercer.
Other speakers gave similar positive messages. They included:
- Josh Allison of Horizon CU in Spokane Valley, Wash., who said credit unions are structured to provide real value to consumers. The conditions for success couldn't be better. Consumers today want to do business with a financial institution whose values aligns with their personal values, he added. "It's not about the products and services you provide," Allison said. "It's about the purpose. Great organizations have a cause."
- TCUL President/CEO Dick Ensweiler, who said that while consumers must understand and be more aware of the credit union difference, they cannot ignore elected officials. "We have to get political," he added. "We cannot allow the banks to dictate our future. We have to take control of our destiny." Credit unions can get more engaged politically, Ensweiler said, by getting more engaged in grassroots advocacy. One example is TCUL's latest initiative, CU: R.O.A.R., which stands for Ready, Organized, Activated, and Responsive. Another is TCUL PAC, which allows Texas credit unions to support those candidates that support credit unions' cause.
- TCUL Chief Advocacy Officer Tom Haider, who said Senate Bill 2231, the Credit Union Small Business Jobs Bill, is a focal point of key credit union legislative issues. The bill, which will raise the member business lending cap to 27.5% from 12.25% is about credit unions controlling their own destiny, he added. Noting that the bill is the first credit union focused legislation since H.R. 1151, he encouraged attendees to write lawmakers and ask for their vote. "We have to stand united as a movement," Haider said.