CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle celebrated a major advocacy victory for CUNA and its league partners in an op-ed piece published online by the Credit Union Times on Friday.
Nussle detailed how CUNA/League professional advocates worked closely with Reps. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.) and Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) to introduce an amendment to stop the National Credit Union Administration from being placed under the congressional appropriations process.
“The bureaucracy in which the NCUA would have found itself in that process would have ultimately raised its operating costs and, as a result, raised costs for credit unions,” Nussle wrote in his commentary. “This amendment was our opportunity to head off what would essentially be a new, hidden tax on credit unions and their members.”
On Sept. 7, CUNA convened a meeting with professional advocates from every state League in the country to map out a plan to activate member credit unions and send a clear, strong and unified message to Congress about the need to support this amendment and keep NCUA a strong, independent agency.
In the next 12 hours, CUNA and the Leagues sent urgent messages to member credit unions directing them to CUNA’s Grassroots Action site, urging them to send emails, make phone calls, and direct tweets to their member of Congress. More than 3,000 messages to Capitol Hill were generated by credit union activists with broad coverage from states across the country pressing for their support of this amendment.;
“Between CUNA and the Leagues, with contacts and relationships with lawmakers from every state in our union, with targeted social media strategies, a Grassroots Action Center, a network of credit union professionals with key contacts in Congress, I’ve been told directly by lawmakers that our advocacy ground game rivals—and in some cases bests—that of some of the heaviest hitters on the beltway,” Nussle wrote.
In the days that followed, with the postponement of the vote as Hurricane Irma approached the Florida coast, credit union advocates delivered their message loud and clear. “It took six days,” Nussle wrote. “Only six days—in the midst of a natural disaster and one of the most massive data breaches consumers have experienced—to sway a critical mass of lawmakers to support our position. That’s advocacy influence.”
Nussle noted, as Congress shifts its focus to tax reform this fall, credit unions may be called on to step up in one collective voice to remind lawmakers of the value credit unions provide their communities.
”It’s our contention that the credit union voice is only at its most formidable and its most effective when we all get involved,” Nussle wrote. “So when the time comes again, and believe me it will come, please be ready.”