How Can Trade Associations and Leagues Be More Useful?
As a dedicated leader in the industry, I try to support many trade associations, including my league due to the benefits associated with each membership. My credit union is less than $50 million in assets and in today’s economy, I don’t have to tell you how important reducing expenses is to me.
I find in my home state of Texas, the Texas Credit Union League has products and services that are affordable to credit union of all sizes. One important consideration for me is the fact that we have board representation for all asset sizes so topics and issues related to my interests are always in the forefront.
I am amazed at some of the training conference fees that are being charged by other associations. Their program and resources are excellent but highly priced, beyond what I am willing to spend. In order to be more useful to my credit union, the trade associations and state leagues should be able to charge reasonable prices while giving me the best bang for my buck.
Houston Municipal Employees FCU
Assets: $36 million
Every morning I scroll through the headlines to find out what corporations are doing as it relates to corporate social responsibility. I’m hoping to one morning read “Credit unions impact [enter national figure here] students across the U.S” or “Credit unions keep [enter national figure here] members in their homes.” Alas, I’m still waiting.
Missed opportunities. Pick up any trade publication, and one can see that we do very well at patting ourselves on the back for a job well done within our industry, but how many people outside our industry really know about what we do collectively for the thousands of communities we serve?
Trade associations and state leagues are the voice of credit unions in the larger marketplace–at the state and national level–and so they should be working more directly with us to elevate the industry as a whole in the general and consumer press.
First thing: do a better job of identifying the people you need to be working with at each credit union (and that means reaching beyond the CEO). Who are the key government relations, community relations and PR people? Create a network for them to communicate and share best practices. Can this be an online database? Provide them with the tools and training to effectively advocate for credit unions and reach out to the regional politicians in their areas. Work with them to create media strategies to leverage local opportunities in their communities. Begin gathering data from these local efforts to create national statistics that can be used to promote the social good credit unions are creating across the country.
The more visibility we can attract for credit unions as a whole, the more awareness and familiarity consumers will have about what we do and who we are today.
Vice President of Community Relations
Technology Credit Union, San Jose, Calif.
Assets: $1.5 billion
Our North Carolina league does pretty well, but I’ve heard from other credit union professionals in other states that their associations have not been as responsive as they need in compliance and regulatory issues.
I know of several credit unions caught flat-footed on the credit card and overdraft protection compliance changes that were frantically calling around for assistance. I think the associations need to be more proactive in reaching the mid-to-smaller credit unions and making sure they are aware of new regs, new deadlines and exactly what to do. Checklist, people!
Vice President Marketing/Business Development
Carolina Postal Credit Union, Charlotte, N.C.
The merger of the Oregon and Washington leagues, which took effect in January, has improved advocacy and training, especially the webinars. On the advocacy front, they seemed to have not missed a beat and are representing our interests.
The combined newsletter is a quick and informative read. Combining them has made them more efficient, and they’ll be able to be more nimble, which will help individual credit unions and the movement.
Nationally, CUNA has been great about keeping us informed about legislation and regulations. It has helped credit unions have a strong voice on all the issues and prevented bad things from happening. That’s been important in light of all that has been going on lately.
President/CEO Mountain Crest CU
Assets: $827 million
There’s plenty of talk about collaboration, but I’m not sure it is really happening in leagues, and there really should be more of it. Credit unions should be willing to share where they get positive results, and leagues should be organizing labs or central libraries of information that can be easily accessed by credit union managers.
I can give you an example of how a mortgage servicing CUSO was recently set up in Missouri by 10 to 15 CUs and how it is leveraging loans, selling in the secondary market and getting positive results. Now why shouldn’t those facts be distributed by the leagues and shared on a collaborative basis? Filene does some of this, but I think leagues need to encourage more of this kind of attitude, which also applies to selecting good vendors for payroll, cash and other services.
Why reinvent the wheel when we can learn from others on the vendors we can trust?
Mid American Credit Union