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NEW: CUNA launches national search for new president/CEO
WASHINGTON (3/12/14, UPDATED 2:32 p.m. ET)--A national search for a new president/CEO of the Credit Union National Association will be launched immediately, the association's chairman said, to find a successor to Bill Cheney, who is returning to California in June to be president and CEO of SchoolsFirst FCU in Santa Ana.

CUNA Chairman Dennis Pierce said the search would consider candidates from both inside and outside of the credit union movement.

"We will be looking for leadership that can bring to bear the talents of the exceptional team that we have on board at CUNA now, and leverage the strengths of the three-tiered system of CUNA, the state credit union leagues, and credit unions to achieve our goals and strengthen the movement," Pierce said.

Pierce thanked Cheney for his service, and praised his accomplishments as president/CEO since 2010. Among them, the CUNA chairman said, were:
  • Successfully protecting the credit union tax exemption, ensuring that the recent tax reform draft from the House Ways and Means Committee made no changes to the tax status of credit unions. Pierce pointed to the award-winning "Don't Tax My Credit Union Campaign," which Cheney launched, as a key reason for the "big win" for credit unions in the tax reform proposal. The campaign generated 1.3 million contacts with Congress from credit union supporters in less than nine months' time--a record for such efforts--urging lawmakers "don't tax my credit union."
  • Establishing the first-ever shared, strategic vision for the credit union movement: "Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner." The initiative is aimed at guiding, uniting and helping credit unions achieve a shared agenda of removing barriers, creating awareness and fostering service excellence, with the ultimate goals of increasing credit union membership and delivering to members more value.
  • Developing an approach to communicate credit union concerns and interests to Congress with a "535-seat strategy," designed to reach every single member of Congress on behalf of credit unions.
"In addition, Bill and his team this year planned and executed the most successful CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference ever, which drew more than 4,400 credit union supporters to rally and then deliver the credit union message to Capitol Hill," Pierce said. The CUNA chairman also noted the association's continued financial health during Cheney's tenure, as well as its strengthened communications program as hallmarks of his leadership.

Cheney expressed his thanks to the movement for its support over his nearly four years of leading the national trade association.

"I take on this new role at SchoolsFirst knowing that, with the backing of the CUNA board, the state leagues, and CUNA staff, we have accomplished much. However, the work will continue without interruption.

"Protection of our tax exemption, pursuit of regulatory relief, enhancing the charter and working toward achievement of a shared strategic vision--among other key issues--must proceed, with guidance from our board, partnership with the leagues and efforts of our talented, professional staff," Cheney said.

Pierce noted that Cheney will take a consulting role in the leadership search for the association during his remaining tenure at CUNA.

Current SchoolsFirst FCU president/CEO, Rudy Hanley, announced early this year that he would retire from the credit union after 31 years of service.  Although he was originally scheduled to retire in March, Hanley has said he will stay on at the $9.7 billion-asset credit union until Cheney comes aboard.


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