Jean Peterson embraces an idea espoused by Harriet May, retired CEO of GECU in El Paso, Texas, and former CUNA Board chair: It’s time to stop living in fear of taxation and regulation and start promoting, rather than defending, credit unions.
This approach has served Peterson well in the wake of recent efforts by bankers in South Dakota to spread anti-credit union messages locally.
Peterson, vice chair of Aberdeen (S.D.) Federal Credit Union, participated in a panel discussion called “The Path to a Fully Engage Board” during the America’s Credit Union Conference in San Francisco.
The state’s banking industry has been urging county commissioners, local school boards, and city councils statewide to pass resolutions supporting the removal of credit unions’ tax exemption—under the guise of raising local tax revenues for schools and other purposes.
“We need to be ready for what’s coming,” said Peterson, who warns that this campaign likely will spread to other states. “Be prepared to talk to local officials to make sure they understand the credit union difference.”