WASHINGTON (2/22/13)--As the 2013 Governmental Affairs Conference approaches, the Credit Union National Association and 4,200 credit union representatives are preparing to "send a strong message" to Congress, CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney said in a new CUbroadcast.com interview.
"Our goal is to send a strong message… we need to meet with every congressional office, every House office, every Senate office," with protecting the credit union tax exemption at the top of the agenda, Cheney said. "We also need to talk about reducing regulatory burden, we also need to talk about enhancing the charter… there's a lot that we need to cover," he added.
"Credit unions do a great job serving their members… and we've got a great story to tell." Cheney noted that many new members have joined the U.S. Congress following November's elections, and these new members need to be educated about the importance of credit unions in their communities. "It's important for us to talk to them here in Washington, but it's more important for the constituents to get out and see them, and that's a big part of what the GAC is about."
He noted that GAC attendees will also have the chance to hear from and meet with the National Credit Union Administration Board members and key agency staff and to hear from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director and CFPB staff.
The CUNA CEO also previewed CUNA's new strategic vision for the credit union system. For more than a year, CUNA has been reaching out to credit unions, leagues, system partners and its leadership to develop and present a strategic vision to guide and inspire the movement's advocacy, communications and planning. Presentation of this new initiative and what it will mean for CUNA, leagues and credit unions going forward will be the thrust of Cheney's remarks to the GAC audience on Monday.
Cheney also touched on how credit unions communicate with their communities. He said credit unions need to continue to emphasize that they are "a better deal," and offer themselves up as a community of members that is self-governing, and has its members' best interests at heart. "That is so different from a bank," Cheney said. "We should highlight our differences… our differences are what make us a better deal for consumers, our differences are the reason we have a tax preference to begin with… people are waking up to the value of doing business with organizations that share their values," he emphasized.