More State Leagues Speak Out on Dual Membership
The New York Credit Union Association board asked CUNA Tuesday to reconsider its position on the dual membership requirement after a survey found nearly 80% of New York credit unions favor membership choice.
The New York board also said it will meet next month to review actions taken by the CUNA board after its December meeting and make a final determination on membership requirements.
Meanwhile, the board of directors of the Mountain West Credit Union Association announced Wednesday it adopted a measure to support CUNA’s decision to preserve dual membership.
“Advocacy is at the heart of what we do for our member credit unions,” Scott Earl, president/CEO of the MWCUA, said. “Our efforts are championed by CUNA and together, we are able to present a united front that best represents the interests of our members and the credit union movement.”
On Sept. 18, the CUNA board voted to maintain the longstanding dual membership requirement despite a final recommendation by the CUNA System Structure and Governance Task Force to offer credit unions membership choice in CUNA and/or a league.
CUNA’s own national survey found that nearly 50% of credit unions supported membership choice and 30% backed joint membership.
According to a New York association survey of its credit union members, nearly 80% favored the choice to join the association without being required to also join CUNA.
Of the 378 credit unions in the Empire State, 169 responded to the survey conducted last month. The survey’s response rate was nearly 45%. In contrast, more than 6,000 credit unions were invited to participate in CUNA’s national survey, but only 808 took the survey for a response rate of nearly 13%.
“The survey results confirmed the NYCUA board’s position that membership in NYCUA should not require membership in CUNA or any other organization,” the New York association said in a prepared statement.
The New York association board said it passed a resolution Tuesday that calls on CUNA’s board “to modernize its membership bylaws in a way that leads toward more consensus within the credit union movement by empowering credit unions with options on membership requirements.”
However, it is unlikely that the CUNA board will change its controversial decision – at least for now.
In reaction to the New York association’s resolution, CUNA released the same statement after the board of directors of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions announced its decision to allow membership optionality in October.
"CUNA and the leagues are local and national credit union advocates for removing barriers, creating awareness and fostering service excellence for credit unions,” Senior Media Relations Manager Vicki Christner said. “A unified CUNA/league system is the best advocate for credit unions to mobilize our movement to achieve these goals. It continually demonstrates an unmatched record of advocacy on behalf of credit unions.”
The Mountain West association indicated it did not survey its 126 member credit unions in Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming. However, the association has been discussing the issue and “taking the temperature on it” with member credit unions in various scheduled meetings, according to Patti Hazlett, director of corporate communications for the MWCUA.
On Oct. 16, the board of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions voted unanimously against CUNA’s dual membership, allowing credit union members in Florida and Alabama the choice to join the league without requiring them to join CUNA in 2016.
Southeastern league President/CEO Patrick LaPine said 84% of credit unions in both states that responded to the survey voted in favor of choice and 16% of credit union voted to retain dual membership requirements.
The survey found member credit unions supported the move consistently regardless of asset size: Eighty-three percent of credit unions with assets of less than $100 million, 84% of credit unions with assets of $100 million to $500 million, and 86% of credit unions with more than $500 million in assets voted in favor of membership choice.
In September, the Michigan Credit Union League became the first trade association in the nation to allow its credit unions to join the league without joining CUNA.
With this membership requirement change, the Michigan league board strongly encouraged credit unions to continue affiliation with both CUNA and the Michigan league.