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WASHINGTON-Despite the fate of the previous two CUNA CEOs, Dan Mica is hanging on, with the blessing of the board, and still enjoying it. “It seems like I just started yesterday.I feel like, one, that CUNA has been a wonderful place to be and a second career that I have truly enjoyed,” Mica said of his upcoming July 1 seven-year anniversary with the mega-credit union association. He added that he enjoys a strong bond with his board of directors. According to a CUNA spokesperson, the organization’s last two CEOs’ service has ended at the seven-year mark. He would not elaborate. Stemming from his 10-year experience serving in Congress, Mica pulled CUNA’s headquarters from Madison, Wis. and placed it within the heart of politics in Washington, D.C. Since that time, he said that CUNA has come to be commonly referred to as a “world-class trade association” and the leader of the credit union movement. He listed out CUNA programs like Project Zip Code and Project Differentiation and the erection of Credit Union House on Capitol Hill as examples of CUNA’s recognition and presence in the nation’s capital. In its first full year of operation, Credit Union House brought in dozens of congressmen, housed more than 100 events, and further established credit unions’ presence in Washington politics. It also has not hurt that the Credit Union Legislative Action Council of CUNA has bust some dams expanding from $400,000 to more than $3 million over the last few years. “By any measure, we are a world class trade association,” Mica said. “We have a top-notch staff and are highly regarded in Washington, in the White House and with Treasury.I think credit unions walk with a different swagger on Capitol Hill than they did five years ago.” Not one to rest on his laurels, he is still not completely satisfied that CUNA and credit unions have reached that mile depth he often refers to. While Mica is proud of his and CUNA’s accomplishments, there is one thing that the group has yet to achieve, and that is to be feared. But CUNA must be on the right path, because when asked what it will take to reach that mile depth and become a force to be reckoned with, Mica simply said, “a lot more of what we’ve put in place.” Of late, CUNA’s lobbyists have become much more aggressive in pointing out bankers’ CUNA-labeled `hypocrisies’ regarding their opposition to credit unions’ tax exempt status while attempting to cut back on their own responsibilities to Uncle Sam. CUNA has taken shots at the banks in their lobbying techniques and in their member business lending comment letter to NCUA, as previously reported in Credit Union Times. Mica is not worried that getting more aggressive will tarnish the credit union “white hat” image. He said it is crucial not to attack for the sake of attacking, but still “take the issue to them but the basis of it will be good public policy. We will not attack the banks just because they’re banks. We won’t take the low road.” Among his many accomplishments, Mica also listed the good working relationship CUNA has with the various state credit union leagues, NASCUS and the National Credit Union Foundation, as well as lobbying contracts with World Council of Credit Unions, corporate credit unions via the Association of Corporate Credit Unions and a new contract with the National Association of Community Credit Unions. However, he admitted that CUNA does not always have a healthy working relationship with NAFCU. This may stem from remarks Mica made when he first came on board at CUNA advocating the merging of the two groups. Though he still believes it would be more efficient, given the two are competing over 2% of the financial services market, he said he did not realize how many toes would get stepped on. While Mica still travels a great deal (he conducted this interview in a car on the way to the airport to fly down to WOCCU’s conference in Brisbane, Australia), he has cut down from his first few years. Balancing long workdays and workweeks with family time has been difficult he added. He recently became a grandfather for the first time, an added incentive to slow down some. Mica, now 59, explained that his current contract with CUNA is open-ended and at 62, he plans to take a hard look at his personal situation and, with the CUNA Board, decide where to go from there. When he does retire, Mica said he wants to stay involved in the credit union movement through consulting or serving on credit union-related boards, because he has “become a great believer in the system.” For the time being though, Mica is staying right where he is-at least professionally. “This is a great time for credit unions in this country and I think the future is even greater,” he said. [email protected]

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