That was the message of CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica during several remarks to attendees at his association's America's Credit Union Conference & Expo.
"Our future is bright. America is looking to us. We can stand tall," he said during his opening remarks last week.
He cautioned, however, that because of the aggressive legislative and regulatory agenda of the Obama administration, credit unions must redouble their efforts to spread the word about how they've done things right.
Mica said President Obama is "hyperactive" in his desire to make change and the rapid pace of policymaking is likely to continue for some time.
One result of this increased activity is that CUNA's representatives have testified on Capitol Hill six times this year, he said, compared with about once a year during each of the last several years.
He praised Obama's decision to keep the NCUA as a separate agency but said that CUNA is withholding comment on other aspects of the regulatory restructuring proposal, such as the creation of a new consumer protection agency to regulate financial products.
Mica warned that the NCUA will continue to be unpredictable.
"There's something in the water there that changes their thinking," Mica said. "so we will send them bottled water."
He said that while CUNA will do a great deal to further enhance the image of credit unions, its strategy doesn't include an extensive nationwide branding or advertising campaign.
In response to a question during Tuesday morning's question and answer session, Mica said that CUNA has looked into such an approach-along the lines of the milk producers' "Got Milk?'' campaign-but it would cost between $40 million and $50 million annually and would have to be sustained for at least five years. He noted that CUNA's annual revenue from dues is only about $10 million.
An alternative might be to have CUNA pass along some of the materials it has put together and distribute them to leagues and have them conduct advertising campaigns in their states, he said.