The closest thing the credit union movement has to an Annual Meeting is occurring this week in Washington DC. It is CUNA’s GAC.
All the various constituencies will be there-top management, director-volunteers, the regulators, the industry’s major business partners, the trades and the press. Between 2,500 and 3,000 are gathered in a three-day cooperative renewal event.
As at any Annual Meeting the year end results will be announced by NCUA on Monday-well almost all. You will have to visit Callahan’s website to learn about the cooperatively insured credit union results to have the real totals.
Similar to a credit union’s annual meeting, there will be plenty of food, distinguished speakers, door prizes and numerous special meetings. In all, a true gathering of the cooperative clan.
3 Things to Look for at the 2009 GAC
GAC offers a full schedule of events. Anyone could easily attend multiple formal and informal events and keep very busy.
But is there the opportunity to do more? Is there a larger role than that of a spectator?
I believe this year’s coming together is special, because circumstances are critical. The financial system and the country are in an economic downward spiral. Unlike just a year ago, no one dares to predict when the turn around will come. Last week’s discussion of temporarily nationalizing the biggest banks is just an example of an open-jaw crisis. The corporate network’s challenges show how systemic risk has reached into cooperatives.
So in this critical time, what should attendees be looking for? I think there are three things:
Leaders who provide solutions, not just lurid recitations about how bad things are. Trying times produce pundits who specialize in negativity—because listeners attribute expertise to someone who echoes their fears, versus harder to find solutions.
Ideas, business and maybe legislative, that build on the 100 years of our cooperative legacy. How can credit unions be even more relevant in this time and in this century?
Opportunities to participate and shape debates. The enormous settings of the Convention Center can create passive audiences. Be ready to state what you believe in. For you are the shareholders, the people who pay for all of this; but more importantly the beneficiaries of creative outcomes.
Your member’s well being is why this meeting matters. Look for businesses, groups and leaders who understand everyone’s primary reason for being in DC this week: to seek ways to serve our "shareholders" at a time when credit union solutions are needed more than ever.