ROCKPORT, Maine (9/23/13)--Taxation and other issues such as regulatory burden, growth, building strong brands and card standard changes topped the agenda at the Maine Credit Union League's Leadership Roundtable last week in Rockport, Maine. Nearly 90 credit union representatives attended.
"The cooperative principals and philosophy of credit unions are really resonating with consumers," league President John Murphy told attendees (Weekly Update Sept. 20). "As a result, we continue to see impressive growth across the board in assets, loans, savings and membership. However, there are some critical issues and threats facing credit unions, such as tax reform and regulatory burden."
Maine credit unions must continue to engage members in the Don't Tax My Credit Union grassroots campaign, he said, adding, "Maintaining our tax exemption is our No. 1 priority and, even though each member of our congressional delegation has been supportive of our exemption, we need to demonstrate that importance by sending thousands of messages to our delegation."
Regulatory burden was also on the list of threats and challenges facing credit unions. "There have been 170 new regulations put in place since the start of the Great Recession in 2008," said Murphy. "The burden of new regulations continues to impact the ability of credit unions to focus on serving members. We, along with the Credit Union National Association, are committed to working with Congress and regulatory agencies to ease this burden and look for more regulatory relief, where it is appropriate."
Dennis Dollar, a former National Credit Union Administration chairman, concurred that threat of tax reform and regulatory burden are two of the most critical challenges facing credit unions today. "Making your case and reinforcing the value and benefits of your tax exemption are essential. Get your members to respond and have your voices be heard in large numbers."
He urged credit unions to take advantage of the many opportunities credit unions have before it is too late. "With anti-big bank sentiment at an all-time high, credit unions, as not-for-profit financial cooperatives, are positioned for their best growth opportunity in decades," he said.
John Costello, president of global marketing and innovation for Dunkin' brands, opened the roundtable by sharing experience and insight about the importance of building and maintaining a strong brand. "The credit union brand is strong, and you have many opportunities to leverage that strength for the future," he told attendees. "The challenge, though, is staying relevant in a changing world. One way to do that is to engage your members in a two-way dialogue and find out what they want and how they want it."
Fiserv's Allison Edwards updated the group on the implementation of Europay, Mastercard and Visa (EMV) credit card standards in the U.S., saying that process will be slow and will take years. "Without a mandate to currently do this and the considerable costs of EMV cards to financial institutions, a wait-and-see approach makes a lot of sense, especially with mobile payment technology potentially changing the need for EMV cards," she concluded.