I am writing to suggest that the time has come for closer dialogue between our credit union trade associations, CUNA and NAFCU, to examine the possibilities of merger in order to better protect and defend the credit union charter from attacks from the newly forming American Bankers Association. From their letter to member banks:
"This merger will prove the adage that the sum is greater than the parts. The ABA and ACB together will be a stronger association that speaks with a more unified and influential voice for our industry. Our services to our members will combine the best of what we both offer and be better than what either one of us could achieve independently. It will be a progressive, forward-looking, entrepreneurial organization with an unmatched commitment to our members' success."
The bankers are learning to cooperate and will probably end up with an even stronger voice. Isn't it imperative that we ensure we have a strong unified voice as well? Our movement has two talented leaders in Dan Mica and Fred Becker that are frequently positioned as competitors in front of Congress and the administration. Each organization tends to take fairly similar, yet slightly different stands in order to better differentiate themselves, which can affect our efforts in front of elected officials. Isn't it time we speak with one, unified voice?
I suggest the board of directors of CUNA and NAFCU come to the table and discuss how they can ensure our movement speaks with one voice by providing enhanced representation of our issues through a merger. The ABA and ACB will do so, why can't we do it one better with a truly cooperative CU approach.
Not so long ago a merger between two leagues couldn't happen according to credit union leaders because of the politics involved. Politics were put aside and it did happen here in Maryland and DC and it happened because it was for all the right reasons. It was what was best for credit unions.
I think serious CUNA/NAFCU merger discussions should start for all of the same right reasons.
Rod Staatz, CEO
SECU Credit Union, Baltimore.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Credit Union Journal encourages reader feedback. Letters to the Editor can be sent to Managing Editor Lisa Freeman at lfreeman<at>cujournal.com. Letters can also be faxed to 561-832-2939 or submitted online at www.cujournal.com.