As a Chapter we have gathered at bingo bowling, baseball, hockey, seminars, grads and AGMs. We have been in your email box and your post-box, on your voicemail and once or twice a year, in your wallets. We have been working hard to be a Chapter that serves its members and provides value. Yet there is one place where we have not been at all…in the issues.
Professional organizations tend to be defined as representative of a group of like minded workers who are self regulated, must continually maintain and grow their skills and often lobby for their interests. It is this last bit we should think more about.Various accounting, legal, engineering, medical and other organizations are actively engaged in trying to shape government policy. They are actively soliciting the input of their members, and engaging the various industries represented by their members – before legislative committees, judicial reviews, etc.
Consider that recently, CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing) announced that it will be unable to insure any more mortgages as it has reached its statutory limit of 600 billion dollars (if you can believe it). What will the impact be on those who invest in mortgare securities? If the government raises the CMHC limit on mortgage insurance, what will be the impact on taxpayers? Bondholders? As credit professionals, do we have an opinion? As a profession, is this a discussion we should be involved in?
Maybe this is not a topic for us, but in an era of record personal indebtedness and potential government debt problems, there must be some related topic that we as credit professionals can lend our voice. Do we sit by as governments create (vote-getting) legislation that makes it easier for debtors to delay payment of their debts?
As a profession we need to ask ourselves if we should be involved in a more public way. Do we need to fund research (and that likely means higher annual dues), or create volunteer bodies that raise their voices as our provincial and federal governments consider policy in these areas?
Is this idea outside our mandate? Is providing credit education limited to our professional course of studies and PD seminars/webinars? Public advocacy is very different work than we are used to, but if we have the energy to plan bowling and other social events, can we find the energy to also get involved in these discussions?
Our institute does have the members’ forum where we can discuss issues among ourselves. Maybe it is time to take the conversation public. Maybe that is the spark that our profession and our Institute needs.