Creating Influence

Growing Grassroots for Credit Unions: GCUA Meets with Members of Congress

Credit unions continue to urge Congress to pursue regulatory reform in the wake of the passage of S. 2155. Some of these additional positive changes sought at the federal level range from urging the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection to streamline regulations and analyze the impact of their rules, promoting that the Federal Communications Commission fix the unintended compliance burdens and potential liability for credit unions, and even seeking support of legislation that defines credit unions’ ability to serve cannabis-based business (in states where it’s legal). And this is in addition to the myriad of issues that arise each day that are weighed and addressed with members of Congress by not just credit union interests, but all the other industries that are engaged on a federal level. Add the backdrop of the pending transitions of individuals recently tapped to potentially help lead the NCUA Board as well as the Office of Consumer Financial Protection and one can see just how challenging being “heard” can be for any industry!

So how do you keep credit union efforts at the forefront? It takes consistency in message, credit unions meeting with Congress to provide an in-district face and help the federal lobbying team educate on issues, and growing personal relationships legislators have with the industry through engaging at in-district meetings/events and targeted visits “on the hill.” In keeping with this strategy, GCUA executive leadership met with members of Congress and key staff in Washington, D.C., this week to draw greater attention to the issues that matter to the industry, and grow the connections necessary to help pursue meaningful and positive legislation for credit unions. This short visit helped emphasize the work of credit unions in their districts, and educate the federal legislators on key bills that are good for the industry. The issues discussed included:

  • data security legislation,
  • multiple common-sense regulatory relief bills to reduce compliance burdens on credit unions,
  • avenues to expand member eligibility, and
  • the financial strength of credit unions through protecting the income tax exemption and leverage opportunities for other potential sources of capital for the future.

But more importantly, these visits were about growing the relationships with federal legislators and their key staff. Anyone can urge members of Congress to act on an issue – they receive calls, emails, and social media messages REGULARLY on a wide range of topics. However, by focusing on their understanding and connections with credit unions, it creates context. And by doing so, one is able to rise above the fog of noise to reiterate what matters to credit unions from a legislative perspective.

Effective advocacy for the industry is not due to just one thing or one effort, but rather the collective work of credit unions, Leagues and CUNA engaging on the issues that impact how you serve your members. But it’s these personal relationships that are the infrastructure on which opportunities for legislative success is built. Our thanks to all the credit unions who engage with their legislators in the districts and create the positive understanding and appreciation for what the industry does!

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