Today, over 5,500 credit union enthusiasts are more aware of NCUA and Coop principles than just 30 days ago. The White House Petition Coops4Change.org remains an important way for members to express their support for credit unions’ unique financial model.
What We Have Learned
Many leading CUSO’s, several leagues, and numerous CEOs have written their member-owners about the petition opportunity. At the same time we have learned that many CEOs do not have the vehicles and machinery ready to activate member support. Many do not even have standing authority to select and approve messages.
This effort is just a first step to build — and find a way to express — a collective cooperative voice. At CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC), Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) said that what separates credit unions from other financial providers is their grassroots connection.
This distinction can be real, or it can also be lost through disuse. Complaining among peers is not using our voice; depending on political specialists is not using the voice; nor is working behind the scenes with staff.
Credit unions are rediscovering the power of a community action website — a channel to encourage members to speak out and to participate on issues of common concern and interest. That is real grassroots readiness — the ability to let members be your voice.
The White House petition, www.coops4change.org, stands and is an ideal vehicle to rally staff and members. Credit unions have over 240,000 employees whose professional futures are directly affected by NCUA policies and priorities, both now and in the future.
There will continue to be NCUA Board vacancies for as long as NCUA remains an independent agency.
One recurring lesson from this past crisis is the ever changing hope and need for a new kind of relationship between the industry, consumers and the regulator.
The campaign is about creating capabilities to bring the credit union voice more effectively to these repeatable events. This is not just about winning now, but also to sustain a focus on cooperative principles far into the future — and certainly beyond the attention span of the typical news cycle.
Applying Cooperative Principles to Strengthen Regulatory Oversight
In the weeks to come, I will describe how cooperative principles can be a basis to assess all aspects of the regulatory model — supervision, examinations and especially liquidity and capital management.
Transparency is critical for accountability and meaningful dialogue. The effort is just beginning. I appreciate the support for all who have used their “voice” to date.