More than seven decades ago, representatives of the twelve existing credit unions in the Green Mountain state had the foresight to join together under a single umbrella to help advance their mission of bringing cooperative financial services to every Vermonter. The vision of those credit union pioneers, with leadership from the national credit union patriarch, Roy Bergengren, has come to fruition in the Association we support and celebrate in its 73rd anniversary year. Today, everyone in Vermont is eligible for membership in one or more credit unions, and nearly 60% of them exercise their right to choose membership in a cooperative financial service provider. Such high consumer confidence and support allows Vermont credit unions to infuse more than $500 million, directly and indirectly, into the Vermont economy.
Our Association is proud to be part of Vermont’s credit union success, and especially proud to share its own success with member credit unions. 2019 marked the 12th year of patronage refunds given back to members as thanks for the business they do with our Association. The most recent patronage refund brought the 12 year total amount shared with member credit unions to more than $1.5 million.
Advocacy, of course, is the primary role of our Association, and in 2019 we continued our strong and successful advocacy efforts in Montpelier and with Vermont’s federal delegation. Our lobbying team again reviewed more than 1,200 pieces of legislation for pertinence to credit unions, many of which were introduced as consumer protection issues. A similar bill count is expected this year and the team will continue to search out and weigh in on each of those, regularly reporting developments and progress to our members.
Although the number of Vermont credit unions is no bigger than it was in 1948, the second of our 73 year history, they are vastly different from their predecessors in all ways but one … the cooperative philosophies and principles on which they are based. And so it is with the Association of Vermont Credit Unions as well. Over 73 years its role has evolved and changed greatly in many ways but one . . . and that’s being the leading advocate for Vermont credit unions.
We’re humbled and proud to have the on-going confidence and support of member credit unions that enables us to fulfill our mission of advancing and protecting Vermont’s cooperative credit unions.
Sean Gammon, Chairman
Joe Bergeron, President