WASHINGTON - More than 800 CU industry executives and volunteers gathered at Washington's Grand Hyatt Hotel last night to honor the credit union youth, former CUNA CEO Dan Mica and Rudy Hanley, longtime CEO of SchoolsFirst CU.
The National Youth Involvement Board, Mica and Hanley won the National Credit Union Foundation's Herb Wegner Awards, one of the industry's highest honors.
The ceremony, which is held annually as part of CUNA's Governmental Affairs Conference, recognized the NYIB for its pioneering work helping to draw young people into credit unions and furthering financial education; Dan Mica for his guidance in helping to make credit unions a potent political force and Rudy Hanley for his inspirational leadership in embodying the credit union ethic.
Brandon Pugh, Chairman Emeritus of NYIB and current Chairman Rebecca Isaacs accepted the award on behalf of the organization. In her remarks, Isaacs reflected on the organization's history and the millions of students that have been helped to a better understanding of finance through the group's work. But she also noted that the organization had been founded in 1972 to help lower the average age of credit union members and that CU members still, on average, remain older than the American population as whole. “So our work will continue,” she said.
For old times' sake and after the urging of the ground, Mica opened his remarks with his trademark question “isn't it a great day to be in Washington” after a video recalled his years as CUNA's CEO after having been a U.S. Representative from Florida.
In addition to leading CUNA through the landmark legislative fight to pass and have signed into law the Credit Union Membership Access Act of 1998 (H.R. 1151), Mica also oversaw CUNA's move to Washington and to step up its political presence at the federal level.
“When I started with CUNA, I believe our PAC was at about $400,000,” Mica told the assembled leaders. “Now I think its about $4 million and is recognized as one of the most effective PACs of our type of organization out there,” he added.
Hanley used his presentation, in part, to remind the audience that the founders of the credit union movement had not left guidance on having a good ROA or a strong capital ratio. Instead, he said, there guidance had focused on the essentials.
“They talked about people,” Hanley said, “and people helping people and credit unions being not for profit, not for charity but for service. That is the core of what we must be about as credit unions,” he said.