CUNA-NAFCU Merger approved!
It’s a brand new day for the credit union movement and we all are witnesses to credit union history! Since announcing their intent to merge in early August, members of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and the National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU), overwhelmingly approved the merger of these two organizations into America’s Credit Unions, which is set to legally launch on January 1, 2024. The final vote saw 94% of CUNA members and 86% of NAFCU members supporting the consolidation.
As a system partner, the Dakota Credit Union Association remains committed to a partnership that strengthens credit unions and advances our mission and we look forward to standing alongside America’s Credit Unions. Clearly this merger is in the best interest of the entire credit union industry. The depth and strength of the two organizations combined into one equals an even more formidable association with the ability to fiercely advocate for our members. More importantly, our Dakota credit unions and members will benefit from a more unified voice that will strengthen our advocacy efforts and increase the overall impact of the collective work of the League System and America’s Credit Unions.
We all are privileged to be part of this historic event as our movement heads into the future with a single national trade association. Together we’ll benefit from a combined organization with better strategic alignment, greater efficiencies, and streamlined member engagement in our efforts to protect and advance a vibrant credit union system.
We are all deeply aware of the challenges we face as an industry. Yet, the promise of America’s Credit Unions and its potential for long-term industry sustainability will help credit unions navigate through challenging times. Simply put, our industry will be stronger and more resilient through better collaboration and a shared commitment to credit unions’ success. Your Dakota Credit Union Association stands firmly in your corner, and we look forward to working with our credit unions, our fellow leagues, and America’s Credit Unions moving forward.
This time around is the Charm!
“It’s Déjà vu all over again.” I need to turn to a Yogi-ism (reference to Yogi Berra, Hall of Fame Baseball player for the NY Yankees who was just as famous for his quotes as he was for his baseball skills) in sharing a bit of history that was revealed to me by someone who was at the table some 40 years ago.
As history would have it, the prospective consolidation of CUNA and NAFCU happened nearly 40 years ago. After the member votes were counted last Thursday, and the CUNA-NAFCU merger was officially certified, I learned of a previous attempt to bring these two organizations together by an individual who originally was part of the chartering of NAFCU, and who was one of their first employees.
Most of us are aware that CUNA’s roots date back to 1934. NAFCU’s history, on the other hand, is much more recent. The National Association of Federal Credit Unions was founded in California in 1967. I learned that most of the original chartering members were formerly examiners. These industry leaders has three very specific objectives: To get their own Federal Agency (NCUA); to get a credit union Federal Deposit insurance Fund (NCUSIF); and to create a liquidity facility (CLF). It was said at the time, that when “these things are accomplished, we will have achieved our mission.” That mission was achieved early on, as Congress created the NCUA and NCUSIF in 1970, and then created the CLF in 1979.
What was shared with me, is that once Congress approved the CLF, members of both CUNA and NAFCU met for a joint dinner in the late 1970s to celebrate the pending merger of the organizations. However, the collaboration fell apart as the two groups couldn’t agree on the new governing board makeup.
As I shared with you back in August (when I could finally talk about it), as the current Chair of the American Association of Credit Union Leagues (AACUL), I had the privilege of being engaged in the meetings and negotiations between CUNA and NAFCU.
For nearly two years we worked on strategies and objectives to bring these two organizations together. So, why was it different this time? What occurred during our early discussions was everyone’s steadfast commitment to build a greater, more superior and impactful trade association that can better serve an evolving credit union movement.
As evidence of this commitment, I’m sharing the “purpose statement” that came out of that initial discussion that took place in Nashville in June of 2022. There was certainly an undercurrent of excitement from both of our organizations as we envisioned what this means for credit unions.
We believe it is possible to equitably merge/combine our two fine organizations into a superior model that extends credit unions’ more unified, focused, and impactful advocacy.
Leaders of both organizations prioritized accountability and an even more intense focus on the needs of our members—coupled with increasing the value we bring to the cooperative movement—throughout our collaborative discussions. This came about by leaders of the two organizations listening very carefully to you about your desire to create one national voice for all credit unions and provide aggressive, relentless, measurable, and impactful advocacy in all areas of public policy.
I can honestly say this experience was both an honor and privilege and most certainly a significant career milestone for me personally. Another one of my favorite “Yogi-isms” is, “when you come to a fork in the road, take it.” That is exactly where we are. No matter which road we take, our success really is up to all of us.
DakCU expands dues supported compliance resource and solution for affiliated members.
As we shared during our CEO Town Hall virtual meeting in late October, the Dakota Credit Union Association has entered a partnership with ViClarity.
ViClarity is a compliance and regulatory consulting firm that serves more than 1,000 credit unions across the US. They also partner with 9 credit union leagues covering 16 states to provide compliance support services.
We are planning a member rollout and introduction webinar later this month. Look for a special invite in your email inbox soon.
DakCU staff meets for annual planning session.
Like you, the DakCU team gets together annually to have strategic discussions and plan ahead. As a team, we continually strive to enhance membership value, maximize efficiencies, and streamline our expenses in all areas. Last week, we also reviewed our priorities, mission, core values, and our membership value proposition. We are committed to delivering effective legislative and regulatory advocacy leadership, outstanding educational and networking opportunities, trusted business solutions, and credit union awareness in our region. We are engaged and excited for 2024!
I enjoyed seeing the many Dakota credit unions engaging in some Halloween fun – especially the themed costumes! I am sure your members appreciated the effort as well. Below are a few examples we found on social media.
Celebrating Native American Heritage Month in November.
On a final positive note, November is National American Indian Heritage Month, in recognition of the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the United States. While some states began acknowledging American Indian Day as early as 1916, it was President George H.W. Bush who approved the resolution in 1990. CUNA news featured two of our member credit unions in their article, Trust, relationships key to serving Native American members. Katie Bredvik, CEO of Coteau Valley FCU and Katie Nehl, communications manager at First Community CU, did an excellent job of explaining how their credit unions serve their Native American members by making personal connections through community involvement and financial education. You can read the article here.
Have a great week!
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