Chapters Serve As a Valuable Tool
for the Credit Union Community
The name on the plate outside a brand new neonatal room at Bronson Methodist Hospital reads “Kalamazoo Chapter of Credit Unions.” It’s just a small plate, but its meaning is huge. Kalamazoo credit unions were the first organizations in town to step up and sponsor a part of the hospital’s renovated Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and the Kalamazoo Chapter sponsored the room with proceeds from two years’ worth of golf outings. The sponsorship serves not only as a shining example of how credit unions are embedded in their communities, but also how the chapter system brings Michigan credit unions together to achieve common goals.
Chapter participation by credit unions separates them from other types of financial institutions. Through the chapter system, credit unions gather together monthly or quarterly to exchange information, ideas and expertise. This gives each credit union in the chapter a chance to weigh in on Michigan-specific and national credit union issues, which provides important feedback for the Michigan Credit Union League. These chapter meetings also give credit union staff and volunteers the opportunity to network and spend time with their peers. Chapters are a valuable resource for credit unions and the MCUL alike.
“The chapter system is an excellent way to bring credit unions together and create a sense of teamwork and community,” said David Adams, MCUL president and CEO. “It’s also valuable for the League, because we take into heavy consideration the thoughts of credit unions before moving forward with programs and initiatives, and chapter meetings serve as a forum for feedback on what’s going on with different issues in the credit union industry.”
One example of the value of credit union insight from chapter meetings relates to the new Credit Union Difference cooperative advertising campaign. When new radio and television ads were being generated, the CU Difference Committee met a number of times to make sure the wording was to the satisfaction of the credit union community. Each chapter was given an opportunity to make sure the message was on target.
Chapters also serve as a means of creating a unified message when meeting with state or federal lawmakers. When credit unions meet regularly for legislative breakfasts with lawmakers or gather to discuss important legislative or regulatory issues, attendees are up-to-speed on the important topics and what needs to be addressed during grassroots lobbying effort.
Being not-for-profit cooperatives, when credit unions come together in the chapter setting, they can have a greater impact on their communities. The chapter experience is rewarding, enriching and valuable to the credit union movement in Michigan. If you would like to learn more about your local credit union chapter, e-mail MCUL Director of Membership Relations Martha Ninichuk at email@example.com. To organize a chapter legislative breakfast to meet with lawmakers, contact MCUL Political Affairs Coordinator David Mroz at David.Mroz@mcul.org.
The 2009 Chapter Leadership Retreat will be held May 15-16 at the Amway Grand Plaza in Grand Rapids. Two participants from each chapter are invited to attend a free weekend of training, networking and development. Among the topics for the weekend are Chapter Framework and Roles, Strategic Planning and MCUL Priorities and Initiatives. Contact Martha Ninichuk at firstname.lastname@example.org or ext. 445.