This issue of Contact Magazine focuses on the benefits of membership in the MCUL and CUNA. As I reflect today on our credit union movement, there is one word that summarizes my thoughts and feelings — gratitude. This word comes to mind in part because we are approaching the holiday season which challenges us to pause to reflect on the many blessings we enjoy of family, work, health and quality of life.
Gratitude is a personal trait we often fail to cultivate and, here in our Michigan credit union movement, we have much for which to be thankful. We have a strong Credit Union System of 375 credit unions serving more than 4.4 million consumers. I’m proud and thankful to be associated with the huge cadre of volunteers and staff who are each uniquely committed to putting the credit union idea of not-for-profit financial services to work every day. Our League is blessed to have more than $40 million in Member Net Assets, and more than 100 employees shared by the MCUL and its affiliated companies, all working together to help credit unions enrich the lives of their members.
We lead the nation in our ability to affect change with legislative and regulatory leaders, helping to preserve the credit union tax exemption and modernize laws and regulations that help credit unions compete. Ten of Michigan’s 15 members of Congress are co-sponsoring the important CURIA legislation. We have modernized the Michigan Credit Union Act to give state-chartered credit unions unprecedented abilities to expand and serve their members. We collectively spent more than $2 million on cooperative brand advertising this year. Our Community Reinvestment Initiative (CRI) is a model for the rest of the country for documenting and expanding credit union outreach efforts.
Our subsidiary companies will achieve a milestone of better than $1 million in combined, after-tax income in 2007. These earnings allow the MCUL to keep membership fees at extraordinary low levels. For example, Michigan credit unions of all sizes would pay anywhere from two to 10 times more in membership fees to leagues outside of Michigan. These subsidiary companies — CUcorp, CU Village, HR Value Group and HRN — are all working with the MCUL to provide a broad suite of solutions to help credit unions be successful.
I’m grateful to those credit union leaders and pioneers who paved the way and created an opportunity for me to work in such a great movement/industry that does so much good for people. I am also thankful for the strong support that the Michigan credit union community gives the MCUL in all of these areas, support which epitomizes the power of cooperation. It’s that support that builds on the foundation of our current success and helps ensure a bright future ahead.