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 70th anniversary year. Today, everyone in Vermont is eligible for membership in one or more credit unions, and about 58% 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 about $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. 2016 marked the 9th year of patronage refunds given back to members as thanks for the business they do with our Association. The most recent patronage refund was the largest ever, bringing the 9 year total amount shared with member credit unions to approximately $1 million.
Advocacy, of course, is the primary role of our Association, and in 2016 we continued our strong and successful advocacy efforts in the Vermont statehouse, and with Vermont’s federal delegation. Our efforts were highlighted in the election year with the Association’s hosting of a forum of the 5 primary candidates for Vermont’s governorship, in conjunction with a gathering of leaders of varied cooperatives throughout the state. As the first candidate forum of the election year, the media attention brought to the Association, credit unions and cooperatives was high.
Although the number of Vermont credit unions is no bigger than it was in 1948, the second of our seventy year history, they are vastly different from their predecessors in all way 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 70 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