Near Death Reports Disputed
In an era of participatory politicking when Facebook, Twitter and other digital tools can turn any citizen into a lobbyist, have traditional trade associations entered their twilight years?
Fueling this argument are disaffiliations by big natural person credit unions, most recently by the 144,000-member, $1.6 billion Apple Federal Credit Union, headquartered in Fairfax, Va., which quit CUNA loudly in February. Said Apple FCU CEO Larry Kelly on his way to the exit, “Can you tell me one major thing that CUNA has done for credit unions in the last 12 years?”
Then, too, disaffiliations only tell part of the story.
“We, in fact, are getting bigger, we are signing new members,” said Fred Becker, CEO of NAFCU. He added that, by his count, only two credit unions have an independent lobbying presence in Washington, meaning that if the industry is getting heard in the capital, it is getting heard via its associations.
Strong as those endorsements for the associations may be, it’s not all good news for them.
The disaffiliations may serve as a wake-up call as more grumbling, about dues and measurable results, is heard from the credit unions that have to write the annual checks to maintain membership. David Savoie, CEO of Louisiana Corporate in Metarie, La., offered this perspective on how associations will have to adjust to a new world.
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