Cheney Not ‘Running Away’ From CUNA
Outgoing CUNA CEO Bill Cheney told CU Times he is not running away from CUNA, but instead found an opportunity too good to turn down at the $9.8 billion SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union in Santa Ana, Calif.
“There are very few opportunities that would interest me, given the position I have now. I spent 19 years at credit unions. I spent eight years in the trade association world – four in California and Nevada and now four at CUNA,” Cheney said during an interview on Tuesday. “I certainly wasn’t looking to leave. I think we’ve had great accomplishments at CUNA but this was an opportunity I just couldn’t turn down.”
CUNA and SchoolsFirst announced the decision March 12. Cheney said he will leave CUNA for California in June.
CU Times asked Cheney if a return to Southern California played a part in his decision to leave CUNA for the CEO position at SchoolsFirst.
“My wife Christine and I love D.C., we love living there, we have a home on Capitol Hill. We love that neighborhood. I like being close to the office. There’s so much about D.C. that we love,” he said. “I enjoy the advocacy part of being at CUNA so it’s not anything we’re running away from, but it was just too good for an opportunity to let slip by at this stage in my career.”
However, Cheney noted there are some frustrating aspects of working in the District.
“It’s part of the job. It’s not just frustrating for me. I think just about everyone who works in D.C., including the lawmakers themselves, and policymakers – this inability for them to agree on anything to move the country forward is very frustrating and it’s something that’s going to have to be resolved,” Cheney said.
“I don’t think it’s going to be resolved before the voters resolve it by finding people who are willing to come to Washington and compromise for the good of the country. Now that wasn’t a factor in my decision, just a factor of everyday life in Washington,” he added.
Read more of CU Times' interview with Bill Cheney in our March 26 issue.