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Credit Unions Kick Off Annual Advocacy Meeting

Credit union advocates from across the state arrived at the Missouri Credit Union Association’s (MCUA) Annual Advocacy Meeting on March 10. The first day of meetings was held entirely at the DoubleTree Hotel in Jefferson City.

Attendees were invited to Heartland Business Services’ annual meeting where Heartland’s new president and chief executive officer (CEO), Keith Steinhoff, was introduced to the membership. Steinhoff has been the interim CEO since mid-January. Gary Hinrichs, chairman of the Heartland board and president of West Community Credit Union, explained that the board had interviewed a number of qualified candidates before selecting Steinhoff. He then turned the meeting over to Steinhoff.

Data Breach Session with Ann Davidson

The next session featured expert speaker Ann Davidson, of CUNA Mutual Group. She has been working with credit unions since 1974. She explained a lot has changed since she first joined CUNA Mutual Group and that criminals really thrive on non-face-to-face transactions, such as an Automated Clearing House (ACH) and payment cards. Essentially, this applies to any type of online purchase or transaction done—not in person.

“There were a lot of data breaches last year, like Schnucks,” says Davidson. “Even last week there were five more data breaches, and it’s not stopping. The bad guys have found an open door. We have to be one step ahead of them and that much smarter.”

She spoke about chip technology and its dynamic nature, which means that with every transaction the information sent changes. For example, when someone skims your debit card information at the point-of-sale, he or she wouldn’t be able to use that information since it changes so often.

She explained various types of targeted fraud exposures including:

  • Card present fraud
  • Counterfeit skimming fraud / data breaches
  • PIN fraud
  • Signature fraud
  • Card not present fraud

Davidson encouraged attendees to take a look at their websites to see if there were any potential areas that could be susceptible to criminals. She stated that they search out the weakest link, so it’s a good idea to ensure that websites and online banking have a number of protections in place.

To really prepare for data breaches, Davidson suggested that credit unions need to understand due diligence, risk mitigation and reputation risk. They should also have a data breach incident response kit, so they can quickly handle any data breaches.

“I think it’s great that you’re going to the Capitol tomorrow,” says Davidson. “Really help legislators understand what is happening. Everybody in this room is a consumer.”

Federal Legislative Issues For Credit Unions Session

MCUA’s advocacy team spearheaded the next two sessions. Amy McLard, SVP of Advocacy, and John McKechnie, of Total Spectrum, kicked things off and discussed federal legislative issues for credit unions.

They spoke about the tax reform issue, and they stated that the Don’t Tax My Credit Union grassroots efforts had really spoken to legislators. They also touched on data breaches, highlighting the efforts of Missouri Senators, Roy Blunt (R) and Claire McCaskill (D). Blunt recently introduced the Data Security Act of 2014. McCaskill, as chairman of the subcommittee on Consumer Protection, called for a meeting with Target representatives.

During CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC), credit union attendees really stressed the impact that data breaches were having on their members. 

“Thank you to the GAC attendees,” says McLard. “They made the issues about the consumers. Our members are the ones who are paying the price.”

Other issues that were covered during the session included regulatory relief, housing finance reform, patent trolling and member business lending.

State Legislative Session

The last session of the day was led by David Kent, director of State Legislative Affairs. He anticipates more than 2,000 bills will be filed in 2014. MCUA closely monitors and tracks approximately 10 percent of filed bills, especially looking out for any unsavory amendments that might have been attached to good bills.

Kent covered state-level bills that have the potential to affect credit unions, such as:

  • Tax Lien Transfer Legislation
  • Financial Institutions vs. Condo Associations
  • Patent Trolling (on the state level)
  • Electronic Lien Release
  • Payday Lending Bills
  • Pension Advance Offers
  • Consumer Privacy Legislation
  • Data Match Program

Following this review of the issues, he highlighted the state legislators in advance of the legislative dinner, which was held later that night. This helped credit union professionals identify key legislators to meet with.

Closing out the day of meetings, Missouri Corporate Credit Union (MCCU) held its annual board meeting. 

Legislative Reception / Dinner

Legislators met with credit union professionals from across the state and discussed a number of issues that were important to not only their members, but the lawmakers’ constituents. More than 50 lawmakers attended the event.

"I had very good meetings with several lawmakers," says Brent Sadler, president and CEO for United Credit Union. "We had great conversations, and they had nothing but positive things to say about credit unions."

The dinner offered credit union staffers a more informal environment to meet with lawmakers. 

"Our credit union volunteers know their members in the Missouri General Assembly, so participating in the advocacy meeting is extremely beneficial," said Kirk Mondy, president and CEO of Poplar Bluff Federal Credit Union. "We had a wonderful time visiting with them at the dinner and having more time to talk."

More information (day two) on the Annual Advocacy Meeting will be included in the next Missouri Difference.

Caption 1: MCUA staff greet credit union attendees at the Annual Advocacy Meeting registration. 

Caption 2: The member owners of Heartland Business Services hold their annual meeting. 

Caption 3: Ann Davidson speaks on data breaches. 

Caption 4: David Kent, John McKechnie and Amy McLard brief attendees on the legislative issues.  

Caption 5:  Rick Nichols, president and CEO of River Region Credit Union, Rep. Ron Hicks (R-District 107) and Jim Barrett, vice president of Anheuser-Busch Employees' Credit Union chat during the dinner. 

Caption 6: Craig Tabor, president and CEO of BluCurrent Credit Union, talks to Rep. Sonya Anderson (R-District 131). 

Caption 7: Brent Sadler, president and CEO of United Credit Union, discusses issues with Rep. Randy Pike (R-District 126).