WASHINGTON — The new chairman of CUNA called on credit unions to adjust their non-profit/pro-service message to one more closely aligned to the times by emphasizing a voice of reason and balance at the local level.
The political rhetoric and the media “are both becoming increasingly polarized and Wall Street banks and Washington politicians are the poster children for polarization,” said Mike Mercer, who was elected Monday at the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference, said Tuesday as he addressed a general session.
Mercer, president/CEO of Georgia Credit Union Affiliates, told the GAC gathering at the Washington Convention Center that credit unions might now need to adjust their motto.
He had a couple suggestions: “Not for profit, not for charity… but for service" or “Not for Wall Street, not for Washington … but for Main Street.”
Mercer said that while the industry’s role in the overall scheme of things can seem small at times, credit unions are in close proximity to people of modest resources, average educations and big dreams.
These are people “trying to do good things with their lives and thus fundamentally credit unions help people afford life,” Mercer concluded in his acceptance remarks, stressing that every CU should continue to work toward protecting and enhancing the co-op business model.
The CUNA board also elected vice chairman, Patricia Wesenberg, president/CEO of Central City CU, Marshfield, Wis.; secretary, Dennis Pierce, president/CEO of CommunityAmerica CU, Lenexa, Kan.; and treasurer, Susan Streifel, president/CEO, Woodstone CU, Federal Way, Wash.
Rod Staatz, president/CEO of State Employees Credit Union, Linthicum, Md., was elected member-at-large.
As chairman, Mercer succeeded Harriet May, former president/CEO of Government Employees CU, El Paso, Texas.