|Organized in 1934, the Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL) has a proud tradition of innovation and leadership among the nation’s credit union trade associations. Thanks in no small part to the efforts of the MCUL, the history of the Michigan credit union movement is one of growth, success and progress.
Through membership in the MCUL, Michigan credit unions receive important services such as legislative, regulatory and media advocacy; a stream of timely and vital news and information; access to key education and training programs; direct assistance with critical operational and planning issues; and a host of other products, services and programs designed exclusively to meet the unique individual and collective needs of credit unions.
The MCUL has focused exclusively on serving its members throughout its 72-year history, a commitment that is concisely expressed in its Mission Statement: “To foster, protect and promote the vitality of credit unions by providing programs and services that will enhance their ability to enrich the lives of their members.” As the contents of this 2005 Annual Report clearly demonstrate, that commitment is as real and alive today as it has even been.
James C. Dahl
Chairman of the Board
President and CEO
The 2005 MCUL Annual Report highlights the achievements and milestones of the Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL) and CUcorp, and provides updates on MCUL initiatives and the League’s strong financial position. What the graphs, charts, financials and narrative text may not fully reveal is the amount of statewide input, cooperation and commitment behind each achievement and accomplishment.
The MCUL Board of Directors does not make policy in a vacuum. League policymakers gather valuable input and opinion before staking out a position that is in the best interest of Michigan credit unions and their members. No better example of this process can be seen than in the League’s position on credit union charter onversions. Based on member input, the MCUL recognizes the right of a credit union to convert, provided the conversion process is fair, transparent and allows members to make an informed choice.
The MCUL’s activities in this area have been consistently focused on honest attempts to improve the conversion process through communications with regulators, lawmakers, the media and credit union members. We will also continue to work to address important issues that will make the credit union charter even more attractive in the future.
The past year included significant milestones, such as the enactment of significant bankruptcy law reform and growing support for the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act (CURIA). No better example exists of the effectiveness of the MCUL’s and Michigan credit unions’ legislative advocacy than the fact that we were able to achieve unanimous and bipartisan support in 2004 for the credit union tax exemption among all 15 of our state’s U.S. House members.
Keeping our lawmakers informed on key issues and supporting legislators who recognize the credit union difference is a long-standing priority of the MCUL. Our diligence in raising funds for our Political Action Committees (PACs) is a key element in this effort. In 2005, totals of $223,051 were raised for MCULLAF, our federal PAC, and $106,103 for MCULAF, our state PAC.
2005 also marked the inaugural year of the MCUL System Structure Task Force, charged with reviewing the League’s district/chapter structure and recommending possible modifications. This new task force is working to ensure we are using the most efficient and representative governance structure.
The League’s three-tiered focus of traditional legislative advocacy, cooperative advertising and the Community Reinvestment Initiative (CRI) continues to gain momentum. Through this strategy, our credit unions are positioning themselves to preserve and promote credit union uniqueness in the crowded financial service marketplace.
Measurable gains were made in many consumer categories during the successful launch of the MCUL Brand Image Campaign. Credit unions raised funds to support a nearly $2 million campaign –– the biggest cooperative advertising effort in Michigan credit union history.
Efforts are underway to raise funds for the 2006 Brand Image Campaign campaign, and the MCUL Board has demonstrated its continued commitment by earmarking $300,000 for the effort, with bias toward also allocating any additional funds that might become available for cooperative advertising.
Over the course of the year, the MCUL gathered extensive information on credit union efforts and activities. That aggregate data clearly demonstrate that Michigan credit unions continue to meet their social mission of improving the financial lives of members and building stronger communities. We are focused on making sure that lawmakers, consumers and the media are aware of these efforts.
Michigan credit unions were involved in more than 2,400 community projects in 2005. Further illustrating the credit union difference, the report also reveals that Michigan residents received more than $187 million in direct financial benefits through lower loan rates and higher dividend rates during the 12 months ending in June 2005.
Credit unions struck many as a bold experiment when the first Michigan credit union was chartered in 1925. Today, credit unions are a familiar feature on Michigan’s economic landscape. But the credit union model of cooperative savings and credit, service before profit and democratic control is as relevant today as it was 80 years ago. Despite a host of challenges and a weak local economy, Michigan credit unions successfully fulfilled their mission and experienced another good year in 2005. Working together in the common interest of Michigan consumers, we can look forward to the future with confidence.