SAN DIEGO-CUNA is readying a "credit union vision" it hopes will take the movement to $2.5 trillion in assets in 10 years. It's an audacious goal for credit unions, which just hit the $1 trillion in assets threshold after more than a century of operation.

The new vision was introduced by CUNA President Bill Cheney during the trade group's America's Credit Union Conference here.

"CUNA will roll out a vision soon," Cheney said. "The vision will be about our common values, about people helping people, about people before profit. Credit unions have always had a common purpose: advancing the financial well being of our members, as well as America. What if we could take those common values and create a vision? What if we can agree on a vision that Americans choose credit unions as the best financial partners?"

Credit unions have 95 million members today, soon to be 100 million, Cheney continued. "However, given just half use CUs as their primary financial institution, the movement has a long way to go."

Cheney said credit unions must remove barriers, both regulatory and legislative, to reach that goal, and must also modernize both state and national charters.

"And we have to create awareness. Too many people, especially younger people, do not understand credit unions. We are the best-kept secret in America, certainly in the financial services market. We have to foster service excellence, for when someone finds a credit union and has a great experience. At national level we must foster collaboration. Think of the power of 7,200 CUs with $1 trillion in assets, all seeking the same goal."

CUNA plans to work with external groups on this credit union vision, as well as how to measure success, Cheney said. One consideration is member value. Credit unions offer higher rates on savings, lower rates on loans, and save an estimated $150 per family. "The more people use the credit union the more they save, so we are going to try to get more people to join. Implementing this vision will take credit unions to $2.5 trillion in assets in 10 years. There is much more to do, but I and the CUNA Board are excited to do it."

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