SAN DIEGO – CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney announced three new initiatives to a standing-room-only audience during his opening remarks Monday at America’s Credit Union Conference in San Diego.

In an attempt to pass member business lending legislation this year, CUNA is working “at high levels” in both the Senate and the House to craft a package that credit unions can support and banks can reasonably live with, Cheney said. 

The package will attempt to end legislative gridlock among elected officials who don’t want to vote on MBL because it would alienate either credit union or bank supporters, he said.

To those credit unions who question the need for member business lending legislation because they don’t make business loans, Cheney asked, “do you want to make that decision in your board room, or let the ABA or ICBA make that decision for you?”

The ability for credit unions to advance a proactive agenda is what’s important in the MBL fight, he said.

CUNA has also launched an initiative entitled “Operation CONTAIN”, which aims to reduce regulatory burden that may come from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The initiative will include consultation with CUNA councils and committees to find ways to reduce the impact, Cheney said.

Cheney also alluded to a program CUNA is currently developing that will help the credit union movement communicate a more focused message with consumers. The trade is considering eight different ways to meet that end, he said, including sharing quantitative member value statistics like how credit unions save families $150 each.

General session speaker and author Tom Peters spoke to the audience about the need for organizations to put employees first in the pursuit of excellent service. Employees don’t work for CEOs, Peters said, it’s the other way around.

“We don’t make business strategies, we hire people who make them,” Peters told credit union leaders.

Peters also said as technology improves and classic business hierarchies change, female managers are finding more success than men. Not only are women better at convincing people to work together to achieve goals, women also tend to be more concerned with “getting things done” than power.

The conference runs through Wednesday at the San Diego Convention Center.