Fifty credit union leaders from 14 credit unions in Missouri joined a record 4,400 attendees in Washington D.C. for the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Governmental Affairs Conference, February 23-27.
The credit union tax status and data security issues dominated discussions with Missouri members of Congress during Capitol Hill visits on February 26-27. Credit union leaders met with all ten legislative offices in both one-on-one and group meetings. "We had an opportunity to comment on multiple issues with the legislators, and they seemed to be very attentive," says Chris McCreary, United Consumers Credit Union.
As credit union attendees hiked the Hill, the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee released its tax reform proposal – and the credit union tax status was not included. Click here for more details.
Attendees shared data collected from Missouri credit unions, highlighting the impact of the Schnucks and Target breaches on consumers in Missouri. Click to see the Target and Schnucks survey results reported by credit unions in the state.
"Every senator and member of Congress I met with was in step regarding the data breach situation," says Randy Yeck, Vantage Credit Union. "As we focus on the positive points with our representatives, it will help us when we don't completely agree on the actions in Congress."
Other issues highlighted during the visits with lawmakers and staff included the need for regulatory reform – including passage of the privacy notice act in the U.S. Senate and credit union support for a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) reorganization bill; patent trolling issues; housing finance reform; member business lending; and supplemental capital. Click here for the Missouri Credit Union Association briefing material shared with members of Congress.
"Our credit union leaders did an excellent job explaining how these issues impact members in Missouri, and why legislative action is needed in each area of concern," says Amy McLard, Missouri Credit Union Association senior vice president of advocacy.
GAC participating credit unions from Missouri included:
In addition to Hill visits, the Missouri Credit Union Association helped coordinate several Missouri-specific events. These included a legislative briefing, reception honoring CUNA Chairman and CommunityAmerica Credit Union CEO Dennis Pierce, and a group dinner.
"Everything about the GAC is useful to me," says Lisa Farnen, Electro Savings Credit Union. "The chance to spend time with my credit union colleagues in an environment that fosters our core philosophy of people helping people is so valuable. It is four days out of the office, but well worth it."
The Missouri group included several first-time GAC participants, including Holy Rosary Credit Union's Rachel Barker, who took part in the "Crash the GAC" program for young credit union professionals under 30. "The exposure to credit union advocacy gave me a new appreciation for our work," says Barker. "This was a great opportunity as a young professional to see where the movement is going and where I can make a difference."
"I'd definitely recommend to my fellow credit union employees to find a way to at least attend one GAC," says first-time attendee Rob Persaud, CommunityAmerica Credit Union. "Your eyes will be open much wider when you arrive back home."
Judy Hadsall with CU Community Credit Union agrees. "It was top notch from the standpoint of being able to see our legislators, the number of vendors, networking with credit union executives, and the sessions you are able to attend," Hadsall says. "We are able to get face to face with our legislators and this allows us to tell them our story. I will put it on my calendar for next year!"
Credit union advocacy efforts extend beyond the GAC. To find out more and receive weekly emails regarding advocacy opportunities, click here to register for the Missouri Credit Union Association Center for Legislative Action.