The Power of a United Voice

Gary Grinnell, NAFCU Board Chair

It’s official—members of NAFCU and CUNA have made their voices heard and have approved the merger into America’s Credit Unions. Jan. 1, this new organization will be legally established and begin the journey of transformation into one, strong national trade association for all credit unions.

This historic moment also means my time as NAFCU Board Chair will soon come to an end. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the industry in this capacity and am excited to continue to advocate for the industry as a member of America’s Credit Unions Transition Board. We have a tremendous task ahead of us—ensuring the best of both organizations continue and finding opportunities to be even better.

I am confident that my colleagues on the America’s Credit Unions Transition Board—which will be led by current NAFCU Vice Chair Brian Schools—will steer the process fearlessly, helping to guide Jim Nussle and the team he puts together toward a path of accountability, responsiveness and what’s best for the future of the credit union industry.

I am honored to be writing my last column for The NAFCU Journal as NAFCU Board Chair and would like to take this opportunity to recognize some of the hard work that went into this new and exciting transformation.

Earlier this year, NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger announced his resignation, effective Dec. 31, 2023. Dan is a passionate leader who helped transform NAFCU’s commitment to its members and ensure a strong culture of extreme member service. I cannot thank him enough for all that he has accomplished for our industry and his support throughout this entire endeavor thus far.

To Dan, Jim and the entire staff at both NAFCU and CUNA: thank you for your continued dedication to the credit union industry. I know that there have been many long hours and late nights that have gotten us to this point—and the true task of becoming America’s Credit Unions really begins now—so I hope you know that your work on behalf of our industry is incredibly appreciated.

I’d also like to thank my colleagues on the NAFCU Board, who have shown tremendous leadership throughout this process. I am honored to have worked alongside each of you.

And finally, thank you to the NAFCU members who have supported the association over the years. NAFCU’s wins have also been your wins and they could not have been achieved without your support.

There are many great things in store for the industry. But I also know that change can be challenging. There are many times in life that we find ourselves in the position to persevere through unforeseen changes and situations. But one thing is for sure: change is inevitable. Time and time again, the credit union industry has proven itself to be resilient and extraordinary in times of change. We are always there to accept the call.

I strongly encourage you to fully embrace the future of our industry, and my advice is to continue to be involved. Now, more than ever, your voice is needed. The stewards of this major transformation want and need to hear from you about the things you value most from your association. What do you want to see more of? Where are there opportunities to improve? The goal of any association is to serve the industry it sets out to protect and represent. Reaching that goal is only possible if the leaders of this new organization are able to hear honest, constructive feedback as the process moves forward.

This kind of cooperation and coordination is foundational to the credit union movement. I know you will heed this call and help to make this new era of our industry the best it can be.

Throughout my time on the NAFCU Board, I have been amazed by what we can do when we unite and let the power of our joint efforts shine. From hundreds of credit unions showing up for the industry through grassroots advocacy, to living the credit union difference in all that you do, and now supporting the industry in a new way as America’s Credit Unions takes this huge step forward. I am excited for the future, and I hope you are, too. 

Gary Grinnell is president and CEO of Corning Credit Union in Corning, NY.