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An Important Message from CEO Dick Ensweiler
Friday, January 30, 2015 7:00 AM

CUNA has reported widely about the creation of a System Structure and Governance Task Force. The task force was created to determine whether the time is right to change up the league/CUNA structure and to address the makeup of the CUNA board. 

After a couple of meetings, the task force has determined that they would like to ask credit union officials how they feel the current process is working. To that end, they will send the link to a special survey to all credit unions next week, and we hope you will take the time to complete it.

As a bit of background, when CUNA was created in 1934, it was an organization of leagues established by leagues. The thought was that key association functions could be centralized so that each state league would not have to replicate another league's activities by maintaining a legislative or a regulatory relations presence in Washington, DC, and by not having to create their own education materials, public relations campaigns, or research departments. 

With CUNA providing those services from Madison, Wisconsin, and Washington, DC, on behalf of credit unions, the leagues could focus on delivering education locally, disseminating results of research statewide, organizing chapters for local interaction, creating grassroots legislative and regulatory proficiencies at the local level, etc. Leagues would manage state legislative and regulatory relations and provide compliance assistance for state-specific issues. Additionally, leagues would have field representatives calling on credit unions to assist in governance, operational, and training activities.

After another task force looked at the CUNA governance structure in 1997, they recommended "renewal," a revised membership and governance structure that required credit unions, as well as leagues, to become members. The CUNA board of directors was changed to provide for 18 of the 24 directorships to be held by credit union executives. That system is in place today.

There has been discussion recently that some credit union executives do not believe membership should require belonging to both the league and CUNA. They want the choice of whether to belong to one or the other—or both. They also want to see other changes in the system.

The current task force is trying to determine whether that sentiment is prevalent nationwide or if the system that stood behind credit unions for all these years is still important to the success of credit unions going forward. If there should be changes to tweak it, what would those changes look like? 

Again, the survey is coming to you electronically from CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle next week. I encourage you to take the 15 minutes or so required to complete it, because it is imperative that leadership know where credit unions stand on the important issues of system structure and CUNA board governance.

Thank you for your time and attention.

Dick Ensweiler