Impressions of the 'System'

Posted by Greg Michlig Friday, August 02, 2013 8:00:00 AM

This, the second installment of The Collaborative Connection, comes to you from a hotel desk in Boston. It is Thursday evening and I have just spent a full day with fellow League presidents and executives, CUNA board members, executives and staff, and select guests. My intent was to spend time thoroughly delving into the impressions I have had of the credit union system in place through the CUNA/League structure over the past few months. However, what has taken place today, while well in line with the impressions I had prior to my arrival in Boston, will require brevity in this week's post.

We went long today... very long. And the day is not over. As with all such events, there are dinner reservations and ongoing conversations to take place throughout the evening.

The dialogue in the League presidents' room today was in-depth, compelling, collaborative and, perhaps most important to you, centered around the success and issues facing credit unions and the movement. As the conversations (and debates) rolled on, not a soul made note of the fact we were continually passing the timed benchmarks on the agenda. A thorough discussion of the issues was paramount, the time of day was secondary.

Whether at the CUNA America's Credit Union Conference last month, through the discussions today or at any point in-between, my experience within the system has been that the leaders of this movement are fundamentally driven by addressing the challenges of and driving opportunities for your credit unions at every turn. Perhaps this comes across as self-serving, but this is exactly the type of environment I had hoped to find and is very much in line with my philosophical approach. At its very core, what I have seen is that, it's not about CUNA or the Leagues, but it is about the credit unions and ultimately the members.

You may say, that's how it should be. And I agree. However one cannot dismiss the questions and comments that arise regarding the value of affiliation or the cynicism that sometimes creeps into conversations. I am certain that my time to address these issues as one with a fresh set of eyes will not last long. So while I can, I want to tell you that your concerns are heard, your pain is felt, your successes are celebrated and your affiliation is highly valued, to an extent that is much more deeply emotional and authentic than you may imagine. I have been impressed and I am proud to be a part of this system.

And with that... I am late for the next scheduled event and most certainly do not want to miss an opportunity to discuss additional ways to positively impact credit unions with the fine folks from the Filene Research Institute, who have graciously invited me to dinner.

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