Realizing the Vision: Action Steps for Credit Unions

How can your credit union help the CU system move closer to realizing its vision where Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner? The suggested actions and benchmarks in this checklist will contribute to achievement of our three key goals of:

Removing BarriersCreating AwarenessFostering Service Excellence

When we unite for good to achieve these worthy goals, success will follow. Consider this list a solid blueprint to ensure your credit union is participating in the success of the new vision. This is by no means an exhaustive list, nor will each item make sense for all credit unions. Credit unions may want to consider these action steps for inclusion in their strategic plans.

For more information, contact CUNA or your league, or email

Goal: Removing Barriers

Legislative and Grassroots Mobilization Action Steps
  Participate in Don’t Tax My Credit Union Activate your staff and members and tell Congress not to tax 96 million Americans. Watch the briefing, use CUNA’s tax toolkit and send your members to
  Name a point person Keep on top of things with a designated grassroots/legislative coordinator at your CU (see a job description here.)
  Stay in contact with representatives Have regular contact with your elected officials at the state and federal level. (Click here for a Congressional meeting outline.)
  Connect with candidates Host candidate tours and “meet and greets” at your branches. Find your lawmaker(s).
  Activate your grassroots Take action to activate your members when requested by CUNA and your league.
  Take legislative and regulatory action Actively participate in CUNA/league legislative and regulatory action alerts.
  Hike the Hill and Hike at Home Send at least one representative from your CU every year to Hike the Hill in Washington and Hike at Home in your district.
  Go to CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference Participate in CUNA’s annual GAC and the GAC’s Capitol Hill visits to members of Congress. No other CU meeting has a greater political impact on Capitol Hill.

Regulatory Action Steps
  Send comment letters Respond to calls for comment on regulatory proposals, and share a copy with CUNA and your league. Include as much concrete data and impact analysis as possible.
  Meet with your regulators Be proactive in meeting with NCUA and state regulators. When you Hike the Hill in Washington, add a visit to NCUA.
  Take the national exam survey Participate in the new annual CUNA/league national examination survey to help guide our advocacy efforts.
  Talk to your member of Congress about regulatory burden Be sure to include the topic of regulatory burden when talking with members of Congress about CU policy concerns and objectives. Congress can influence regulatory actions.

Political Action and Campaign Involvement Action Steps
  Support Political Action Be a part of the system’s national political action efforts by supporting your state league’s PAC and ensuring your CU has an active, signed permission agreement with CULAC.
  Support CU-friendly candidates Send communications to your membership in support of CU-friendly candidates running for office. Solicit volunteers to work on behalf of credit union-backed candidates.
  Participate in Project Zip Code Update Project Zip Code at least twice a year to enable your CU to calculate how many members are in each Congressional and state district.

Goal: Creating Awareness

Action Steps with the Media
  Build media relationships Establish positive relationships with members of the media in your area. CUNA or your league can offer guidance.
  Identify positive CU stories Identify positive stories for media use, pitch them to your local media, and regularly share them with CUNA and your league.
  Join the CU social media conversation Have a designee or team to engage in social media conversations that underscore the benefits of CU membership.
  Showcase the CU difference with letters and posts Regularly write letters to the editor, opinion columns, blog posts and website comments to demonstrate the CU difference and/or respond to banking industry anti-CU propaganda.
  Participate in consumer ad campaigns Participate in your state or regional cooperative advertising campaign, if one has been launched, to raise consumer awareness and understanding of CUs.

Actions Steps in Your Community
  Be active in local civic organizations Participate in the local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club and other civic organizations, and their committees to inject CU cooperative thinking into their discussions. (Google your local chamber.)
  Participate in local events Be visible at community fairs and other events to engage and educate the public.
  Promote Connect local consumers to this easy-to-use resource, created by CUNA and the leagues, so they can learn about and find CUs to join. Follow aSmarterChoice on Twitter and like it on Facebook.
  Demonstrate community leadership Be active in charities, such as Credit Unions for Kids, other local charities, your state foundation and the National Credit Union Foundation.
  Support financial literacy Participate in CUNA's Youth Savings Week or the National Youth Involvement Board. Consider opening an in-school branch, running a reality fair or participating in other local financial literacy efforts.
  Connect with Hispanics and other groups Raise awareness among the fast-growing Latino population and other groups that may not know they have access to CUs.
  Reach out to other community co-ops With a shared structure and philosophy, they are natural choices for business and advocacy alliances.

Action Steps with Your Board and Members
  Share CU values as part of onboarding Stress CUs’ not-for-profit, cooperative philosophy when onboarding new members and employees. Here’s an example.
  Tap board member connections Your board volunteers are a valuable resource. Tap whatever connections they may have to civic, community and business organizations as another means of raising awareness.

Goal: Fostering Service Excellence

Action Steps to Drive Membership and Loyalty
The following is a list of key criteria that consumers use to select and stay loyal to a primary financial institution.
  Provide convenient locations Convenience is important in selecting a PFI. Consider the power of the national shared branching network, which can give your CU a bigger branch network than most large banks. It is one of the best examples of CUs’ cooperative nature.
  Offer and promote reasonable fees and free checking Reasonable fees and free checking are key value differences between CUs and banks. Benchmark your competitive position against local banks. Convenient products (from CUNA, Informa, RateMap, etc.) exist to facilitate this process.
  Make easy online access and online banking services a priority Online tools drive PFI selection and loyalty, especially for consumers under 45. Evaluate high impact mobile technology for your members, such as online bill pay, remote deposit capture, mobile banking apps and online lending applications. See CUNA Escan for continuing coverage of mobile and other technologies.
  Reinforce helpful, friendly, personalized service Great service is a credit union hallmark and one of our key satisfaction differentiators from banks. If you don’t have one already, consider a service excellence and standards initiative at your CU. See how one credit union does it. See how another credit union uses CUNA Creating Member Loyalty™ to develop and sustain their service culture.
  Provide and promote access to many ATMs ATM access is important to all member demographics. Participate in the national, surcharge-free CU ATM network to give your members access to a network that rivals even the biggest banks.
  Be competitive on loan and savings rates The member-owned CU model delivers higher member value in the way of competitive rates for savings and loan products. Use CUNA’s member benefits reports to benchmark the value your CU provides compared to the local competition.
  Develop a variety of loans and savings products Review your current and target members and consider which products are in demand, such as savings products and savings management tools, and loans for students, green projects, and milestone events such as weddings and other celebrations. See Credit Union Magazine for continuing coverage of these products/services.