CUNA Claims Headway on Disaffiliations
Though actual results remain under wraps, CUNA said Wednesday its member retention program is bringing back credit unions that have quit the CUNA/league structure.
The effort’s director, Jeff Carpenter, a veteran CUNA staffer and former marketing vice president at Wright-Patt Credit Union in Dayton, Ohio, said CUNA’s 85-90% affiliation ratio “would be the envy” of any other national trade group but in the credit union system “that is not good enough – we want all credit unions to belong.”
Carpenter, who rejoined CUNA last September and holds the newly created title of vice president-membership development, acknowledged there have been some high profile exits, including the $1.6 billion Apple FCU of Fairfax, Va. and the $1.9 billion TDECU of Lake Jackson, Tex. In addition, the $1.8 billion HarborOne CU of Brockton, Mass. resigned to pursue a savings co-op charter.
Carpenter said his staff and a growing number of counterparts at individual leagues have been pressing the trade group message to those credit unions and others about rejoining.
In one case, said Carpenter, one unknowing credit union director tried to obtain CUNA services and was told he could not under current rules. Carpenter said talks with that credit union continue as part of the overall effort to get the credit union to return.
Carpenter added that CUNA can waive rules or offer special deals in hopes of winning membership renewal.
“We understand these are challenging political times and trade association dues is an income expense that is on the table,” Carpenter said. He said credit union survival can depend on speaking with one voice in Congress and state capitals.
Carpenter, who served six years as CUNA’s vice president of league relations and previously was a staffer at the Ohio Credit Union League, said 30% of the unaffiliated credit unions approached so far have rejoined.
Carpenter said he speaks with management and boards of unaffiliated credit unions both on site and in meetings across the country to discuss ways CUNA services can be more cost effective and advantageous to credit unions.
He said he also has been facilitating boards’ strategic planning sessions, a growing need.
Those sessions, “have given some insight to what these boards are thinking, particularly with regard to what they value from CUNA and the leagues,” Carpenter said.
On member retention, Carpenter is slated to lead a discussion of the topic Aug. 14-16 at the first formal meeting of CUNA’s League Affiliation Networking Group in Madison, Wis.
League staffers from across the country involved in member retention will be at the Madison conference, he said.
This week Carpenter will be addressing league relations and membership at a three day conference of the Mountain States Roundtable in McCall, Idaho. That group represents more than half a dozen Northwest and Mountain States leagues, he said.