Day One, Year One at CUNA Management School
Within the span of 24 hours, the newest members of CUNA Management School (CMS) class were whisked through the past, present and future of the credit union movement.
This week, 87 students started their first of three years in the program, which is the longest running credit union executive education program in the country.
During Monday morning’s session on credit union history and philosophy, the students heard from Meghann Dawson, instructional design manager at CUNA, and Jeff Hayes, president/CEO of North Star Community CU, Cherokee, Iowa.
Both emphasized the roots of the credit union movement–influential personalities such as Roy Bergengren and Dora Maxwell, and the ideals of service, a cooperative structure, and a focus on people.
“Remember this,” said Hayes. “Not for profit, not for charity, but for service.”
CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney spoke to the entire CMS student body Monday morning, giving them an update on the status of credit union regulatory and legislative issues in Washington, D.C. He emphasized the growth of credit unions as they gained 1.3 million members in 2011, an additional 667,000 members in the first quarter of 2012, and recently topped $1 trillion in assets.
Although member business lending is a key focus on Capitol Hill, CUNA is monitoring more than 80 other pieces of legislation–a task made more challenging by the upcoming election season. Students took the opportunity to ask him questions at the end of his session, too.
In their hands, the first-year students hold the future of 18 newly created credit unions. It is the first class to integrate the Stanford Bank Game into its course of study. Led by CUNA Senior Economist Steve Rick, the students will make daily decisions in order to maximize their credit union’s return on equity.
The simulation takes those choices–interest rates, salaries, and branch openings, for example–and overlays an economic environment. Each day brings a new quarter for the team to evaluate its current standing among peers and to decide how best to reach its goal.
Still to come for these students? Electing class officers, launching a fundraiser for scholarships, taking exams, and ultimately coming together to be each other’s best resource.
Michelle Willits is New Alliance Manager for CUNA’s Strategic Alliances.