As nearly 50 Missouri credit union representatives prepare to join thousands of credit union leaders at the Governmental Affairs Committee (GAC) in Washington D.C. next week, the banking industry is ramping up activity on Capitol Hill. According to the CEO Update newsletter, the American Bankers Association (ABA) is flying in more than 1,000 executives to meet with members of Congress on March 20. The following day, more than 4,000 credit union executives and board members will make office visits.
Bankers oppose credit union efforts to pass member business lending (MBL) legislation. In fact, if the credit union bill is attached to a banker-supported bill, bank leaders are telling members of Congress they will turn on their own legislation and oppose it. “They’re willing to blow up their own package” just to defeat the credit union bill, said Bill Cheney, CEO of the Credit Union National Association.
The ABA has produced a radio ad featuring ABA President Frank Keating that is playing in D.C. in prime-drive time and attempts to distort the credit union message. CUNA will run credit union ads in Capitol Hill publications next week along with member business lending (MBL) letters circulating the House and Senate. The ABA is hosting a breakout session at its conference on how to “Hustle and Out Muscle Credit Unions.”
“We have to make sure that members of Congress are hearing from all directions about the importance of member business lending,” says Amy McLard, vice president of Federal Legislative Affairs for the Missouri Credit Union Association. “While credit union leaders are in Washington, D.C. – we need your help here at home calling the legislative offices and asking for their support. It’s going to take all of us working together to move this forward.”
The Missouri Credit Union Association will issue an action alert on Monday, March 19.