Two Virginia credit unions say they’ve disaffiliated with NAFCU and will retain only their CUNA memberships.
On Tuesday, the $1.9 billion Chartway FCU of Virginia Beach, Va., said in a release it made the decision during a strategic planning session.
“We strongly believe that our industry should have only one voice to represent us, and we needed to evaluate which trade association best aligned with our value proposition in our business model,” said Ron Burniske, president/CEO.
Burniske said both CUNA and NAFCU “demonstrate exceptional work” but added that the decrease in the number of credit unions means two trade associations aren’t the most effective and efficient model for the future of the industry.
The $300 million Belvoir FCU said it also decided to drop its NAFCU membership for 2013 and retain only membership with CUNA. The Woodbridge, Va.-based credit union had been a NAFCU member since 1996.
“We were looking to cut costs and we already work with the Virginia Credit Union League and CUNA,” said Chief Marketing Officer Jason Lindstrom. “The Virginia Credit Union League has shown us that they are successful advocating for us on the state level and CUNA has shown the same on the national level.”
Lindstrom said Belvoir hasn’t completely cut the NAFCU cord, however.
“We appreciate our long-term relationship with NAFCU and we will still support them when they have webinars and other learning opportunities that fit a need for us. That’s the beauty of the system, we can still purchase a ‘one-off’ webinar when we need to,” he said.
The news follows the announcement earlier this month by the $1.7 billion JSCFCU of Houston disassociated with CUNA and the Texas Credit Union League for 2013. President/CEO Mike Brown said he made the decision to cut out the redundant expense of belonging to two trade associations.
“Both CUNA and TCUL are fine organizations and we have nothing negative to say about CUNA or the League,” Brown said Jan. 4.
NAFCU President/CEO Fred Becker told Credit Union Times on Wednesday he’s not concerned with credit unions that disaffiliate from his trade association. He said NAFCU has added 100 new members over the past few years, including one Wednesday, and even increased overall membership in 2012 despite the decreased number of credit unions.
He also sourced an independent survey NAFCU conducted in October 2012 in which 97% of CEO respondents said they were “likely” or “very likely” to renew their membership. Additionally, 94% said they were “completely” or “somewhat satisfied” with NAFCU’s regulatory advocacy, and 89% were “completely” or “somewhat satisfied” with the trade’s legislative advocacy.
The survey was conducted by McKinley Advisors and was sent to 11,275 credit union CEOs, chairs, staff, and volunteers. A total of 1,275 responses were received for an 11% response rate.
Becker said that through the crisis, NAFCU never lost money or had to lay off staff “as others did” and has recently hired additional employees to provide compliance expertise.
“I have other things to do than call somebody and ask why they joined,” Becker said. “And I think the members want me focused on the issues facing them and the industry, not on us.”