Good morning. It’s a pleasure to be a part of welcoming you to Washington. For more than 200 years, this city has welcomed visitors from around the country to discuss, debate, and do the nation’s business. By virtue of free debate, one hopes to allow the best ideas to rise to the top, spread and prosper for the benefit and uplifting of the nation’s citizens. This of course, is the work of elected representatives. But it is also the work of you in this hall.
You have joined the debate; you are part of the effort to make the best ideas rise to the top. You didn’t come here for your own advancement; you didn’t come for personal profit or better legislative treatment of stock options. You came for the credit union members who freely associate to lend money to one another for the uplifting of all. Decades ago, you assembled for people who made loans to one another for refrigerators or washing machines. Now it might be tractors, a house or a start-up computer software business. You are here for your friends and your communities, your fellow teachers, telecommunications workers, nurses, police and firefighters.
You must tell your elected representatives you are here not for yourselves, but for these credit union members back home. Congressmen and Congresswomen in this city are used to hearing from trade associations that have been organized to make more profits to benefit oil companies, manufacturers, finance companies —– not from cooperatives such as yours that treat every member no matter his or her financial standing as an equal vote in elections and answer to the people those cooperatives serve.
This is the fifth time I have had the pleasure of addressing you at the Credit Union National Association’s Governmental Affairs Conference as a Board Member of the National Credit Union Administration. To serve on the NCUA Board, as both Chairman and a Board Member, has been an honor. I have met some of the most dedicated people in the financial services industry, people who care deeply about their members and go the extra mile to help them and their families.
Since the beginning of my term on the Board, I have spoken to credit union groups across the country. I have visited credit unions. I have met with the two national trade associations numerous times. I have worked as the Board liaison to the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors and the Defense Credit Union Council. I have met with dozens of state leagues. I have spoken to thousands of credit union members, the people you work for and with to provide low-cost, quality financial services and, most of all, to provide members with the knowledge that when they walk into a credit union, they are family.