Welcome to the November issue of Priority Report.
In addition to giving an update on our various collaborative efforts, this report will summarize why we think your continued support and engagement are so important for an effective Michigan Credit Union League and Credit Union National Association.
As we move into the end of the year and the holiday season, I wanted to take an opportunity to celebrate some of our shared successes in 2019. The progress we made this year, whether it was at the federal legislative level with the SAFE Banking Act, the launch of the Open Your Eyes campaign in Michigan, our growth in membership or spreading financial literacy to thousands of young people, are all things we can continue to build on in 2020. To do so most effectively, MCUL knows we need the joint support of our national association, CUNA and our member credit unions in Michigan. Your commitment and engagement are vitally important on all fronts.
By now, you should have received information regarding 2020 affiliation. As you may know, in 2019 MCUL had 100% affiliation for the fourth consecutive year, and CUNA enjoyed over 97% affiliation. I’d like to ask that you maintain your support of MCUL and CUNA in the coming year. As always, we will remain dedicated to strengthening the credit union community, helping you serve, grow and remain strong. To do so, MCUL will continue to take a four-pillared approach centered on removing barriers, promoting the credit union difference, providing solutions for service excellence and delivering great compliance solutions.
The foundation of association success has always been built on grassroots advocacy. We come together as a credit union community to educate lawmakers about the not-for-profit mission of our industry and the need for the least restrictive regulatory path to achieve our goals to better serve our members.
We are focused on preserving the credit union tax exemption, making headway on data security and continuing to provide clarity for cannabis banking. We know that credit unions are still vulnerable to data breaches and are working to provide better security standards for merchants. This fall, we had a legislative victory achieving a safe harbor for credit unions on the cannabis-banking front. MCUL and CUNA want to build off this momentum at the federal level next year, creating more needed clarity for credit unions nationally and in Michigan.
As you know, 2020 isn’t just the start of a new year, but the beginning of a new decade. As I think about the decades behind us, and everything we have been able to achieve together, I think about the modernization of the Michigan Credit Union Act in 2004 and again in 2016. These Act updates were huge accomplishments and a result of great collaboration. In the coming decade, our movement will need to show the same commitment and unity as we attempt to modernize the Federal Credit Union Act and positively effect federal and state regulatory changes. We are truly stronger together.
PROMOTING THE CREDIT UNION DIFFERENCE
Promoting the Credit Union Difference is as much about advocacy as it is consumer awareness. We can’t forget that lawmakers and community leaders are also members. Michigan credit unions are reporting steady membership growth, with total memberships at nearly 5.5 million, or 55% of the Michigan population. This past year, our cooperative advertising program, CU Link, joined forces with CUNA’s “Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union” national campaign. We tailored messaging specifically to millennial consumers ages 18-34. Our goal is to create awareness and share of wallet with the mantra of “Do More, Save More” — informing them that credit unions have so many vital products and services that go beyond checking and savings accounts. Your support for CU Link allows us to reach consumers in numerous media markets. Whether it’s on the radio, television, the internet, a mobile phone or the gas station, Michigan credit unions are present.
Our team has just wrapped up consumer awareness-based focus groups around the state. This feedback helps direct messaging for CU Link and drives consumers to explore all the ways credit unions can help them. Additionally, we are currently surveying 400 Michiganders to gauge trust factors and myths surrounding the industry. This type of feedback shows us where our strengths and weaknesses lie to pinpoint topics that drive consumer actions. All of this information will be used to craft awareness outreach in 2020 and will be shared with credit unions at upcoming educational events, such as the Lending and Marketing Conference.
Awareness doesn’t stop with CU Link. Every year, the Michigan Credit Union Foundation continues to grow its impact, supporting community reinvestment initiatives and spreading financial literacy across the state. MCUF amplifies the credit union difference to more than 12,000 youth and teens through programs like Financial Reality Fairs, the High School Personal Finance Challenge and Money Smart Kids Read. This outreach is funded 100% by credit union donations.
The foundation also provides support for credit union employees, primarily through financial counseling certification training and the new FUEL Michigan group. FUEL, which stands for Fueling, Uplifting and Educating Leaders, is a young professional networking group focused on engaging the next generation of credit union leaders.
Affiliated credit unions are invited to contribute to the Foundation and help spread the word to more members and communities in 2020.
PROVIDING SOLUTIONS FOR SERVICE EXCELLENCE
While our communications team is promoting credit unions around the state, our Education Team is delivering another year of leadership development and networking events to bring unique and insightful experiences to your team of professionals. Through conferences and workshops across the state, credit unions of all sizes have access to a lineup of robust options.
Year after year, we tailor our educational offerings to the latest industry needs and networking opportunities to inspire and foster leadership in our community. Recently, MCUL has added four new events — the Contact Center Conference, Lending School, Health Savings Account Workshop and Leadership@Eleven — each one is a result of our team continually responding to your needs and feedback. I encourage you to check out all we have to offer and take advantage of these learning opportunities. The latest events information is always available on mcul.org.
And speaking of our website, be sure to take advantage of industry data, publications and a wealth of compliance and other information resources at the League and CUNA websites.
Also providing solutions for service excellence are our partners, CU Solutions Group. CUSG serves as credit unions’ resource for high-quality and affordable operational solutions. Through technology, marketing, HR performance and strategic advisory divisions, CUSG gives credit unions great tools for being more successful. As two-thirds owner of CUSG, MCUL is able to maintain the lowest dues in the country based on the financial strength and performance of CUSG and their best-in-class credit union offerings.
Next year, CUSG is focused on four department-based initiatives. Technology Solutions will be building the website and mobile technology credit unions need to compete with big banks and disruptive neo-banks. Marketing Solutions is expanding and enhancing marketing services that enable credit unions to grow membership and product usage using rewards programs, member experience tracking tools and data analytics solutions. HR Performance will be increasing the insights and capabilities of HR teams so that credit unions have a plan to attract, retain and develop top talent. This includes industry-leading products like Performance Pro, Compease Planning Pro and our learning management system, TLC360. And finally, Strategic Advisory Solutions is developing a comprehensive suite of risk management, governance and compliance tools for credit unions of every size as well as providing planning facilitation and leadership coaching.
Our fourth pillar, Compliance Solutions, means MCUL is committed to providing credit unions up-to-date compliance resources and training. Our goal is to make the League a one-stop-shop, with our Destination Compliance portal, so you can stay relevant and successful in an industry that’s always changing.
The Compliance Helpline, League InfoSight and CU PolicyPro are free services to MCUL member credit unions. InfoSight provides regulatory and compliance resources as well as state-specific content, FAQs and a Discussion Board for credit unions to share ideas and ask questions of peers. CU PolicyPro is an online system with more than 230 detailed model policies to help your credit unions manage today’s ongoing compliance and operational challenges. Altogether, these solutions provide a suite of resources in one easy-to-access place. Our suite of fee-based GRC products include AffirmX, Complysight, CU Vendor Management and Governease.
Everything that MCUL and CUNA have been able to achieve in the last year has been a product of collaboration — not just between our two organizations, but between us and all of you. Your affiliation with the MCUL and CUNA allows us to present the Michigan credit union movement as a unified front to legislators and regulators and a force of financial betterment to our communities.
I hope you join us in 2020 as we continue to make an impact both here in Michigan and at the national level. You can find our affiliation portal online at mcul.org/affiliation.
And, as always, if you have any comments, questions or feedback, please feel free to contact me or Patty Corkery at your convenience. Additionally, if you would like assistance with affiliation, or have any questions, please feel free to contact your League Representative.
Thanks for watching this month’s special edition of Priority Report. Thanks for your continued support in 2020.