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Mistaken Identity

CUNA versus CUNA Mutual Group

by Donya Parrish, MCUN

There is a major case of mistaken identity going on, and it isn't because your member's wallet was stolen. There are two amazing organizations that support credit unions who have similar names and very different roles. CUNA and CUNA Mutual Group are confused daily!

I have corrected people on the compliance hotline numerous times, and I know if credit union staff who engage with their products daily are confused, it is probably even harder for a board member to keep it straight. It can be hard to keep them separate if you only deal with one or the other in your role as a board member of the credit union, or maybe you hear both referred to as “CUNA” and have never had an explanation of the difference (after all, it is hard to ask a question if it seems like everyone else in the room knows the answer, right?). Either way, here is a short synopsis of Who's Who in Credit Union World.

The Credit Union National Association is often referred to as CUNA. They are similar to MCUN (your state league), except they provide advocacy and other support at a national level. All Montana credit unions who are affiliated with the Montana Credit Union Network also belong to CUNA. The CUNA team provides support by tracking and getting involved with hundreds of bills and agencies at the federal level as they advocate for credit unions; they offer numerous webinars and schools to keep you up to speed on your role, and for the credit union staff on lending, operations, and regulations, and they provide a daily CompBlog and an E-Guide with a myriad of compliance topics online.

Now juxtapose that with CUNA Mutual Group, an insurance company that many of your credit unions have a relationship with. Yes, a very similar name, but CUNA Mutual Group supports credit unions in the risk department. They provide Credit Union Protection (credit insurance, debt protection, GAP, etc.), Wealth Management and TruStage insurance products (Life, AD&D, Auto/Home, etc.) that you sell to your members, LOANLINER forms, and they issue risk alerts to let you know about fraud or areas they are seeing losses that impact bonds.

It is easy to just say "CUNA" in referencing either of these organizations, but it is far from accurate. As a compliance person, I see risk in not distinguishing them. In fact, Jared Ihrid, CUNA's Chief Compliance Officer, said they received many comments in their recent survey of credit unions on their LOANLINER forms and risk alerts, two things that CUNA does not do, but CUNA Mutual Group does.

The two organizations do have a common history that led to the names being similar. Rather than dwell on the past, I am asking you to commit to discussing the "Credit Union National Association" and "CUNA Mutual Group" and just foregoing the acronyms. We have plenty of them in our world anyway!

Donya Parrish is the VP-Risk Management for the Montana Credit Union Network. She would welcome any questions or comments on this material. You can email or call her (406-324-7374).


At the bottom of this page, you'll find links to past blog posts organized (loosely) into four categories. Feel free to browse. The blogs are all fairly short and provide food for thought in the areas of directors' duties and responsibilities, advocacy, working with the CEO, and ideas for strategic planning.

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