Despite the unprecedented challenges of the last year and a half, NAFCU hasn’t missed a beat.
The entire credit union movement watched the NAFCU team turn on a dime and virtually deliver timely, crucial information credit unions needed to lead throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. NAFCU’s virtual events were well attended, and we effectively used virtual channels to maintain close relationships with regulators and members of Congress.
NAFCU was also the first national financial services organization to safely host an in-person conference after lockdown.
I’m excited to serve as NAFCU’s Board Chair this year, and I make that statement with confidence and genuine optimism. If ever there were a time our organization was perfectly positioned to lead credit unions into the future, it’s now.
NAFCU remains disciplined and focused on three areas: advocacy, compliance and education. We know who we are and the value we provide to members, which is why we aren’t distracted by shiny objects or thrown off course in a crisis. That’s a testament to NAFCU’s executive management team and the credit union volunteers with whom I serve.
I’ve been a member of the NAFCU Board of Directors for a while, and I’ve had the opportunity to get to know each board member well. I respect and appreciate the different perspectives they bring to the table. As chair, it’s my job to ensure each of those perspectives are heard before leading the group to a decision.
Make no mistake: NAFCU is not an echo chamber. We keep it respectful, but I’ve witnessed some spirited discussions. However, that deliberation process may not always be apparent to everyone, because once the NAFCU board reaches a decision, we’re a united front.
That’s especially important when it comes to advocacy. Regulators and legislators require a consistent, united message, and that’s what NAFCU delivers.
Our membership has continued to grow among credit unions with both federal and state charters because they see so much value in NAFCU’s efforts on the Hill and with regulators. Our team has built some next-level relationships in Washington — truly top notch. We don’t always see eye to eye with regulators and elected officials, but they listen to us because they are confident our position is inclusive and definitive.
One advocacy topic I’m paying close attention to is cybersecurity. The threats continue to intensify, with ransomware taking center stage so far in 2021. To this new generation of hackers, everyone is a target. Any new regulations that come along as a result of increased cyberattacks must support our ability to serve our members, which could present a challenge.
I’m also supportive of a strong NCUA. We don’t always agree with some of the positions taken by the NCUA Board, but we strongly support them. An independent NCUA benefits all credit unions.
I stand behind all of NAFCU’s legislative priorities and will tirelessly advocate on behalf of all credit unions so they can grow in the manner that best serves their membership. Credit unions have faced different challenges as they recover from the pandemic. Some are restructuring how they deliver products and services. Others face ongoing economic challenges within their field of membership.
Despite the differences, NAFCU’s five advocacy points touch all credit unions because NAFCU carefully listens to members, respects their positions and takes action on the issues credit unions care about most, our trade association will continue to be successful. In turn, our industry will be successful. I’m honored to be a part of it.
For more on NAFCU’s five advocacy priorities, visit nafcu.org/priorities.
Tom DeWitt is president and CEO of State Farm Federal Credit Union in Bloomington, IL.