State Leagues Focus on Strengthening CU System & Members

Attendees at the American Association of Credit Union Leagues' (AACUL) 2021 Winter Conference.
Attendees at the American Association of Credit Union Leagues' (AACUL) 2021 Winter Conference.

The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues and fellow state leagues recently came together in Arizona for the American Association of Credit Union Leagues’ (AACUL) winter conference — a yearly gathering focused on advancing the movement and collaborating in support of credit unions and their members nationwide.

Key discussions during this year’s conference focused on advocacy, consumer awareness, innovation, and financial inclusion throughout the industry. As credit unions in California, Nevada and other states prepare for 2022, the past year's experiences provided a valuable forum for leagues and system leaders to share ideas, discuss emerging trends, strategize on political issues, and cooperate to further strengthen the credit union system.

In attendance at this year’s conference — and representing California and Nevada — were the Leagues very own President and CEO Diana Dykstra and Senior Vice President of Member Solutions Larry Palochik.

“We exist only to support our member credit unions and their members, and we are also focused on leveraging our movement’s successes into elevating and strengthening the entire credit union system in 2022,” Dykstra said after participating in the conference.

The event came as the California League, Nevada League, and member-credit unions reflect on a period of major victories over the past few years in the state and national capitols of Sacramento, Carson City, and Washington, D.C. Harmful bills have been defeated, constructive legislation was advanced, and a brighter credit union future has been secured.

You can read about the California League’s successes here and the Nevada League’s wins here.

AACUL: Financial Wellbeing, Members, NCUA Comments, and More
Dykstra and Palochik were joined by credit union state-league presidents, service corporation and association executives, league board chairs, government and political affairs professionals, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) executive committee members, national and state regulators, and system partners. The audience heard from a notable lineup of speakers, including National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Board Chairman Todd Harper (virtually), NCUA Board Member Rodney Hood, and CUNA President and CEO Jim Nussle.

Nussle and National Credit Union Foundation Executive Director Gigi Hyland provided an overview of the “Financial Well-Being for All” initiative and priorities at the national level.

In turn, league executives shared the financial well-being initiatives happening across the states and discussed the myriad of ways that leagues, state foundations, and credit unions are involved.

A panel discussion with African American Credit Union Coalition President and CEO Renée Sattiewhite, Defense Credit Union Council President and CEO Anthony Hernandez, and Inclusiv President and CEO Cathie Mahon highlighted the ways those organizations are working with leagues to advance the credit union movement.

Annual Meeting and Board Leadership
AACUL holds its annual meeting in conjunction with the conference, where the following AACUL members were elected to serve on the board of directors for the coming year:

  • John Bratsakis, president and CEO of the MD & DC Credit Union Association.
  • Patrick Conway, president and CEO of the CrossState Credit Union Association.
  • Brad Douglas, president and CEO of the Heartland Credit Union Association.
  • Jeff Olson, president and CEO of the Dakota Credit Union Association.
  • Debbie Painter, president and CEO of the Kentucky Credit Union League.

Olson will serve as chair, Conway will serve as vice chair, and Painter will serve as secretary/treasurer of the board.

Other ex-officio members of the AACUL Board of Directors include Diana Dykstra, president and CEO of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues (immediate past chair); Nussle; and Brad Miller, president of AACUL. Miller was promoted from executive director to president of AACUL at the conference.

For 80 years, AACUL has been setting the standards in developing and promoting servant leadership in the credit union movement. The association has been able to continuously grow, modernize, and meet the needs of state credit union leagues. AACUL is committed to providing authentic and intentional leadership in the CUNA-League system.

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