WILLIAMSBURG, Va.-From the beginning, the National Associationof Community Credit Unions has been about focusing on the needs ofits members. Now, at the time of the organization's 5th AnnualConference, NACCU leaders are taking stock of the past and futureof the association. While community credit unions certainly belongto the credit union industry, their specific issues were not beingaddressed, NACCU Chair Grace Mayo, CEO of Telesis Credit Union,said. “They felt that as community credit unions, it was a specialniche in the community marketplace and a lot of our leagues andnational conferences didn't really have the sessions or thebreakouts that fulfilled their needs to get better strength ascommunity credit unions.” Many credit unions have evolved knowingwhat was expected of them from a single sponsor, but the landscapechanges dramatically when you're serving an entire communitybecause of the more diverse field of membership. “That's changedbecause all the sudden our community is calling out `we love creditunions but we want them to grow with us,' ” Mayo explained. Creditunions converting to community charters need to learn better how touse their resources. Just recently NACCU hired its first employee,Executive Director Marc Selvitelli. While interviewing with thesearch committee made up of NACCU members, he asked them what gotthem involved with NACCU. He expected a `wrong place, wrong time'answer, but what he got was quite different. “ There was adefinitive passion that was there. There was a reason for being andas an association person.to hear an answer like that was veryrefreshing,” Selvitelli said. Mayo had a similar comment for whyshe was interested in leading the group. “Maybe it's because of thepassion that I saw in this group and the value,” she said. Lookingahead, that `passion' both leaders mentioned has to push theorganization to where it is going. Selvitelli said one of his maingoals for the group is growth. “There are a lot of community creditunions that could be serviced by this organization and we'd like tohelp capture them and bring it into one organization and make thatorganization very strong,” he said. He also hopes to make theorganization stronger by pooling resources, both tangible and not,from the community. Finally, he hopes the growth and strength willallow NACCU to have a strong advocacy presence that will berecognized. To address the most important issue coming down thepike, NACCU will need that presence and strength. Mayo said thatone of the top issues community credit unions want addressed isadditional capital. “We really believe as an association that thatis something that our industry needs to be educated on. We need tohave more dialogue and really understand that it's something weneed to study now and not regret not doing five years from now,”she said. As community credit unions enter their new FOMs, there isa normal increase in revenue, but the credit unions can missopportunities to deploy other needed services because they areconcerned about their capital levels. She added that NACCU alsosupports the NCUA chairman's risk-based Prompt Corrective Actionproposal. NACCU is very pleased with NCUA's recent member businesslending regulation amendments, but more work needs to be done inthat area. The association also supports regulatory relief efforts.Issues of growing concern also include the Unrelated BusinessIncome Tax and Financial Accounting Standards Board requirements.Of course, FOMs are an ongoing issue for community credit unions,she said. Though cautious of “overselling” the organization's hopesfor the future, Mayo said the organization will aid credit unionswith their conversion applications and really help community creditunions focus on where their marketing dollars are going, gettingmore involved in community charities, how to take in theappropriate membership, and recognizing the increased risk thatcomes with serving a community. Other than its focus on communitycredit unions, NACCU's protection of four seats on its board forvolunteers is also unique. John Sackett, chairman of Royal CreditUnion in Eau Claire, Wis., advocated that directors could reallyadd a different perspective to the organization. “As a boardmember, I get more involved with other board members of creditunions who are looking to either become community based or havemade that plunge and have already gone that route. It's fairlyclear to me that many of them-way too many in my opinion-made thedecision along with other board members to do that conversion butreally didn't understand what that involved.” He said board membersmust realize that serving a community is a totally differentenvironment that comes with different responsibilities and costs.Marcus Schaefer, president and CEO of Truliant Federal Credit Unionin Winston-Salem, N.C. agreed. “It's an important, I think, pointof differentiation between NACCU and some other groups where wereally put a lot of value on that. I think it's responsible for alot of our success and our strength. We found a way to pull thattogether and strengthen the organization through that. I thinkoften volunteers are not given credit for what they can bring tothe table.” But how much success has NACCU had? While there areapproximately 900 community charters, only 89 have opted to joinNACCU in the five years it has been up and running. “We're justgetting started. That's what this is about,” Mayo said. She addedthat NACCU has no plans to change its relationship with CUNA, withwhom it has a management agreement. “I think they recognize whyNACCU is growing at such a pace,” she said. “There is a niche herethat has not really been addressed by the rest of our systemnetworks.” According to Mayo, NACCU's membership grew by 30% thisyear. Financially, the group has been able to stand on its own feetfor several years, she said. Mayo commented, “It is a stand aloneentity, but we also want to be part of the system.” Other boardmembers agreed. Point Mugu Federal Credit Union (Oxnard, Calif.)President Ron McDaniel stressed that, despite the managementagreement with CUNA, the group and its board is independent. Heexplained that NACCU wants to maintain a “unity of credit unions”but “definitely isn't going to allow any of those otherorganizations to dictate what it can do or the direction it'sgoing.” Schaefer pointed out that the group could “easily” survivewithout CUNA, but the arrangement just helps the fledgling groupmove along faster; it is not a “dependency.” Mayo offered the 180conference attendees-a 33% increase from last year-as evidence ofthe group's growth. One hundred and twenty-two credit unions wererepresented. Mayo added that NACCU would be holding next year'sconference at the new Marriott in Phoenix to accommodate a lot moreattendees. She explained that the group stretched the capacity ofthe Williamsburg Inn this year. NACCU Board members wish anorganization like this existed at the time of their conversions andfeel others will see the value of the group. McDaniel said when hewas putting his credit unions application together they borrowedfrom various credit unions, like Royal, who had already beenthrough the experience. He said, it “helped us understand what wewere truly getting into: what the change in that field ofmembership was all about, what community involvement was allabout.things that weren't really on our radar screen or in ourvocabulary.” Centralizing that knowledge and experience is apositive move. McDaniel pointed out that he had dinner with afellow community credit union CEO during the conference and walkedaway with a few ideas to bring back to Point [email protected]

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