With two weeks left before federal lawmakers return to Washington, D.C., credit unions and state leagues have been taking advantage of home-district visits to share their concerns about a wide range of policy issues as well as the credit union difference.
Visits like these are a “win-win” for credit unions and the member of Congress, said Ryan Donovan, CUNA’s chief advocacy officer. “It exposes the legislators to credit unions and gives them an insight on how they operate and who they serve, and it gives them the opportunity to interact with their constituents.”
Among this summer’s visits:
• Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) invited delegates from Buckeye State CU, Akron; CSE FCU, Canton; Seven Seventeen CU, Warren; and the Ohio Credit Union League to a meeting of financial services leaders from northeast Ohio. The league reported that Brown took to heart credit union concerns about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s recent rule on small-dollar, short-term lending (eLumination Aug. 18).
• Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) visited the Naperville, Ill., office of the Illinois Credit Union League, which highlighted reducing regulatory burden on credit unions.
• Credit union meetings with Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) were facilitated by the Heartland Credit Union Association.
• The Fort Worth Chapter of Credit Unions hosted a visit from Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Texas). Marchant, who serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, reiterated the importance of credit unions continuing to advocate for their tax status (Leaguer July 28). He advised attendees to put a personal face on the industry by engaging with lawmakers–in Washington, D.C., and locally.
“(Lawmakers) usually have more time to visit with constituents in the district than when they're in Washington, D.C.,” said Jim Phelps, Cornerstone Credit Union League senior vice president of advocacy. “Sustained engagement throughout the year, especially back home, is one of the key factors in strengthening our political capital.”
• New York Credit Union Association President/CEO William Mellin joined credit union advocates from the Long Island Chapter at a reception for Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) at Bethpage FCU.
•Massachusetts credit unions and the Cooperative Credit Union Association met with Rep. Stephen Lynch (D), who urged the league and credit unions to continue to communicate with his office.
Congress members also visited with individual credit unions.
• During his visit to CHROME FCU’s Washington, Pa., location, Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) delivered a big check representing a $7,000 cybersecurity grant from NCUA (Life is a Highway Aug. 15).
• Ardent CU, Philadelphia, hosted Dwight Evans, Democratic candidate for Pennsylvania’s 2nd Congressional District, as well as leaders from PSECU, Harrisburg; Ukrainian Selfreliance FCU, Philadelphia; and the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association. Evans is a state representative for the 203rd District.
• Two South Carolina credit unions took advantage of the seven-week recess to host in-district visits. Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R) met nearly 100 employees of Sharonview FCU, Fort Mill, in the staff break room (In the Loop Aug. 18). Will Gardner, legislative aide to Sen. Tim Scott (R), met SRP FCU’s new President/CEO Harry Gunsallus and spent time with other members of the SRP management team in North Augusta.
“We appreciate the time and commitment of these credit unions to host these meetings,” said Dan Schline, Carolinas Credit Union League senior vice president of association services. “There’s no better way to share all the great things that credit unions are doing than having lawmakers visit.”