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From the CEO
February 2018

Dear members:

We just returned home from another exciting and inspiring CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) in Washington, D.C., and it was a record-breaking year for attendance: More than 5,000 attendees and 1,000 credit unions participated, all united in pushing for a stronger future for the credit union movement and the 110 million-plus members we collectively serve. As both a sponsor and an exhibitor in the nation’s largest exhibit hall for financial services, our booth spaces highlighted our digital transformation solutions and our investment and funding offerings. We also took advantage of powerful networking opportunities, and we heard from industry experts, political figures, and even former president George W. Bush.

America’s Credit Unions

In 2017, credit unions:

  • Added 5 million new members to reach a total of more than 110 million
  • Operated 5,700 branches
  • Offered access to more than 30,000 ATMs
  • Helped 750,000 homebuyers purchase a home
  • Assisted 2.2 million people with buying a car
  • Aided 175,000 people in furthering their education/training with a student loan
  • Helped create 110,000 new jobs by assisting entrepreneurs
  • Saved members $10 billion (as opposed to going to a bank)
  • Provided $13 billion of economic activity in the U.S.

Source: CUNA, February 2018

One of the things that inspired me the most during this year’s conference was something Jim Nussle, CUNA’s president and CEO, said during his kick-off presentation. As Jim was sharing an impressive assortment of data on the many ways credit unions had helped people in 2017 and how large our cooperative network is, he said the credit union movement is “big enough to solve any problem, yet small enough to know our members’ names and be their best financial partner in whatever comes along.” And it’s true. Our slogan of “people helping people” is more than just a motto; it’s the way we do business, the foundation of why we do what we do, and how we help our members’ dreams thrive. Let’s keep that in mind as we continue to think about the many ways we interact with our members and help them face their challenges by being the best financial partner we can be.

Speaking of challenges, approximately 600 meetings were held with members of Congress and regulators during the GAC, and we heard the latest updates on how the current rule-making agenda is affecting credit unions’ abilities to serve their members. Although some good things have happened lately, we still face regulation and compliance challenges, and I want to continue to urge you to work with your state’s league to stay informed and be a proactive advocate for our industry. If you’d like to do more, you can start by going to CUNA’s Grassroots Action Center to contact your state legislator and send them a personal letter, or just contact your state credit union league for more tools.

Lee C. Butke