CUNA’s Nussle: Merged Group to Have United Voice in Chaotic Atmosphere

Trade group leader addresses audience at NAFCU’s Congressional Caucus.

David Baumann


Sep 12



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David Baumann

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David Baumann

A squiggly pink arrow pointing downward and to the right.
The U.S. Capitol building.

The merger between CUNA and NAFCU would enable the credit union industry to have a united advocacy voice in a chaotic political atmosphere, according to CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle.

“Advocacy is so important that the merger is second to it,” Nussle, who would become president/CEO of America’s Credit Unions if the merger is approved, said at NAFCU’s annual Congressional Caucus Tuesday. He added: “Even before we get to the merger, you’ve got to do your day job.”

A Changed Legislative Landscape

Nussle, a former House member from Iowa, recommended that conferees ignore everything they’ve learned about how a bill becomes a law because that is not the way legislation is considered now.

He said that myriad unrelated issues end up getting thrown into huge must-pass bills, and that in such a climate advocacy becomes increasingly difficult.

Nussle also explained that America’s Credit Unions still will rely on the state league system now coordinated by CUNA. “All relationships are local,” he said. “You can’t just focus on Capitol Hill.”

He added that legislation enacted by state legislatures often spreads to other states and is considered by their legislatures.

Advocacy and Relationships

One conference attendee noted that America’s Credit Unions would be permitted to have only one Political Action Committee as opposed to the current two committees run by CUNA and NAFCU respectively.

CUCollaborate recently reported that some members of congress who received the maximum contribution would see their credit union PAC contributions drop if the two groups are merged.

“The PAC is only one component,” Nussle replied. “There are many ways to support your candidate.” Specifically, he pointed out that individuals can contribute to candidates, as can other credit union groups.

Nussle added that a merged association would allow credit unions to have closer relationships than ever before.

For instance, he compared CUNA’s Government Affairs Conference with the NAFCU Congressional Caucus. CUNA’s conference, which attracts more than 5,000 attendees, is “industrial strength,” while the NAFCU conference is “much more intimate.”

Question About Dues

One conference attendee questioned why credit unions that are members of both CUNA and NAFCU will be required to pay dues to both groups in 2024, even though the organizations are merging.

Nussle responded that officials from the two groups have been “wrestling” with the dues issue, adding that they will spend next year finalizing the merger if it is approved. And so, those credit unions that are members of both groups will be required to pay dues to both trade groups.

“We’re going to need 2024,” he said.

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