MCUL Board to CUNA: Mich. CUs Want to Keep State Control, Achieve More Aggressive National Agenda

The MCUL & Affiliates board voted unanimously to tell CUNA that it believes state leagues should maintain local control of their names and dues formulas. In addition, the board’s resolution says CUNA can improve its overall advocacy effectiveness by developing a stronger, bolder national legislative and regulatory agenda with improved grassroots lobbying and coordination between CUNA, state associations and member credit unions. The board passed the resolution after an overwhelming number of MCUL members surveyed responded in opposition to the proposed changes.

CUNA’s System Structure and Governance Task Force is considering changes to the association’s membership structure including requirements for joining both the state and national organizations and possibly uniting CUNA and the state leagues under the banner of America’s Credit Unions. Some believe that this structure would result in the most powerful, coordinated advocacy effort. 

MCUL & Affiliates President/CEO David Adams said Michigan credit unions believe strongly that state-level control is the best solution for them.

“The hallmark of the credit union movement has always been strong local and state governance and collaboration,” Adams said. “Member credit unions in chapters supporting state associations should continue to coordinate with the national association, not submit to national governance.”

Here are some highlights from the resolution, which was approved at the board’s June 30 meeting:

Dues Optionality: The MCUL believes strongly that, based on its own member survey results, a very large majority of member credit unions favor having a choice in joining either CUNA, MCUL or both. Based on this input and national polling data, MCUL believes CUNA should enable state associations to allow choice in state/national affiliation if deemed desirable by the membership of each respective state association. This choice should not be limited by CUNA and its bylaws.

Name and Branding of State and National Associations: The name and brand of state associations are the prerogative of each state association and should be decided by them, not by CUNA. (i.e., Michigan Credit Union League vs. Michigan’s Credit Unions.)

Dues Formulas and the Collection and Allocation of State Association Dues: State association boards and their members should determine dues formulas, the allocation of those dues and how they are collected, not CUNA. 

League Participation and Access by Credit Unions with Multi-State Operations: CUNA-affiliated credit unions should pay state association dues in the state where their headquarters is domiciled and, if affiliated in that state, they should be afforded access to other state association services (as prescribed by each state association policy) without a requirement for additional dues or a reallocation of state association dues. (This has historically been referred to as “reciprocity” and each state association can charge premiums for education or other fees as deemed appropriate by those state associations).

How We Improve Advocacy Results: Structure and dues collection practices (whether centralized or decentralized) and dues formulas will not improve advocacy effectiveness. Rather, what is needed is a bold, national legislative and regulatory agenda, and improved grassroots lobbying with coordination between CUNA and state associations and member credit unions.

Robust Non-Dues Income Strengthens Trade Associations: Appropriate respect should be afforded to the importance of associations developing sources of non-dues income in order to reduce dues costs for member credit unions.

The task force expects to make a recommendation to the CUNA board later this summer.

In other action, the board also reappointed Jan Rose and Vance Vargo and appointed Jim Francis to the Michigan CU Foundation board.   

Additionally, the MCULSC Board authorized MCUL to retain a firm to conduct a study of overdraft programs at Michigan credit unions as compared to their banking counterparts. 

Submissions to Monitor may be emailed. Bryan Laviolette is the editor of Monitor. Contact him by email or call (800) 262-6285, ext. 233. The newsletter of the Michigan Credit Union League is published Monday mornings or Tuesday mornings when Monday is a holiday. There is no Monitor the week after Christmas and the week after the Annual Convention and Exposition. The MCUL reserves the right to edit submissions for clarity and space.
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