Row, Row, Row Your Boat Down the Cooperative CU Stream


Another CUNA GAC has come and gone, another Wegner Dinner under our belts, and with that comes a renewed sense of purpose and excitement for the credit union movement. I don’t know about everyone else, but there’s something about being in a room full of credit union people that just gets you completely jazzed about the work we are all doing to make the lives of those around us better.

Not only is the GAC a great opportunity to advocate for the importance of credit unions while hiking the hill, but also a valuable time to get connected with other credit union professionals. I think this is one of the most valuable aspects of the conference – connection.

Jim Nussle and Gigi Hyland made opening remarks for the conference about “coopetition” – the competition that we as credit union organizations feel against one another. Which – as Jim so eloquently pointed out – makes no sense for us as a movement as we only hold 7% of the marketplace. 7%. Let that sink in.

Credit union organizations see each other within the 7% as competition and will oftentimes focus energy on those within the percentage, rather than looking at the remaining 93% of the marketplace. Instead of cooperating and connecting within our 7% to build each other up, we do the opposite.

We need to do better. We CAN do better. GAC and the Foundation’s Wegner Dinner serve as a reminder for us all that when we come together, when we work together, we ARE boundless. We are stronger together than we are apart. When we row together in the same boat in the same direction, we will go a much further.

As credit unions, one of the operating principles of our institutions is “Cooperation Among Cooperatives”. This is exactly what Jim and Gigi were trying to help us to understand. If we want to continue driving more individuals to credit unions, we need to remain true to the values that set us apart from big banks.

Our operating principles are guidelines that each and every credit union organization should be aware of and it’s what should help to strategically align your mission to the work that you do.

Now with GAC behind us, it’s time for us all to hop in the same boat and row the same direction. Let’s cooperate, connect and create a stronger communities for all of our credit union members to live in.


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