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As Voting Begins, CUNA and NAFCU Leaders Continue Push for Merger

By David Baumann - August 31, 2023

Jim Nussle and Dan Berger attend AACUC meeting to promote America’s Credit Unions.


As credit union officials begin voting on whether CUNA and NAFCU should merge, leaders of the two groups on Wednesday took their pro-merger campaign to the African-American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC).

“The association we are trying to create is the cooperative of cooperatives,” CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle told a virtual meeting hosted by the AACUC. If the merger is approved, Nussle will become the president/CEO of the new group, which will be known as America’s Credit Unions.

“Jim and I are focused on getting the vote out,” said NAFCU President/CEO Dan Berger, who will leave his job if the association is approved.

Voting on the merger began this week and will remain open for 60 days.

What Else They’re Saying

Nussle said that leaders of the two groups will be holding listening sessions with credit union officials who might have questions about the merger.

Berger was blunt in describing his support for the move, stating that the “Timing is right.” He also said that with the number of credit unions dipping below 5,000, “Our industry cannot sustain two national trade associations. The business model is not sustainable.”

Nussle agreed that there is an urgency to the merger and, while not mentioning the financial issue, did add, “I hope that history says, ‘it was just in time.’”

Nussle also said that the CUNA and NAFCU “boards did not come together from a position of weakness,” and described the combining of the two groups as a “transformation” opposed to a “transition.”

“There are some things that NAFCU has done that we can’t touch,” he noted, pointing out that, traditionally, quickly responding to member concerns is “an area that NAFCU has excelled in.”

Nussle added that the new association’s name would make things easier for employees of the group, saying that a lobbyist might walk into a member of Congress’s office and be asked, “What’s a CUNA, what’s a NAFCU?”

“It’s a powerful name,” Berger agreed, explaining that a team is working on logos for the new trade association.

What Comes Next?

Berger said further that the trade groups will continue to provide members with information about the organization of the new group, noting that while he understands some members might have concerns, “I would not have a fear.”

“I urge people to vote for it,” he added. “The time is right.”

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