CUNA board sets August deadline to take action against systemic racism

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The Credit Union National Association’s board of directors on Thursday passed a resolution to acknowledge structural racism in America and commit to creating a pathway to change within the credit union movement.

CUNA President and CEO Jim Nussle
CUNA President and CEO Jim Nussle

The CUNA board’s move comes days after the group’s CEO, Jim Nussle, put out a similar statement, as well as comments by Rodney Hood, chairman of the National Credit Union Administration, encouraging the industry to undergo potentially challenging conversations on race in America.

In the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody and the widespread public demonstrations sparked by his death and others, many in the credit union community have been wrestling with how to address the issue and what role the movement should have in the national conversation surrounding racial justice.

The resolution directs CUNA to collaborate with the rest of the credit union system to “create measureable ways that the organization can commit to action by August 10, the anniversary of the creation of the credit union system,” according to a press release.

The board also outlined an expectation that the industry live up to its “people helping people” philosophy by recognizing systemic and institutional racism directed toward African Americans, standing up against racism and discrimination, increasing diversity within the movement and more.

“The time is now to do more and to be intentional about our words and our actions to advance our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion,” Nussle said in a press release, adding, “We are committed to listening to African American voices, learning from their experiences, and taking immediate action to be a part of positive change in our country and at home.”

The demonstrations following George Floyd's death in police custody are forcing the industry to grapple with how it can — or if it should —advocate for equality and better race relations.
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Financial institutions are trying to determine how to best protect branches as some demonstrations following George Floyd's death turn violent.
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Rodney Hood, the first African American to lead a banking agency, said in a deeply personal statement that he was "familiar with the anger and frustration that comes with the everyday challenges and realities surrounding race."
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