ALBANY, N.Y. (5/2/14)--Credit union leaders in New York just wrapped up three days of important work networking and meeting with lawmakers as part of the Credit Union Association of New York's (CUANY) 2014 State Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) in Albany.
Assemblyman Brian Kolb (R-Canandaigua), left, and William J. Mellin, president/CEO, Credit Union Association of New York, at this week's state Governmental Affairs Conference. (Credit Union Association of New York photo)
Nearly 150 credit union advocates attended the three-day event, which concluded Wednesday with discussions about credit union issues with more than 100 lawmakers from the Senate and Assembly (The Point May1).
"Advocating for credit union issues both at the state and federal levels is vital," said Louis Jimenez, league board member and CEO/treasurer of Montauk CU, New York, with $156 million in assets. "We need to educate our lawmakers so that they understand what we need to better the lives of our members. It all comes down to how we can help our members."
The conference began with a compliance update provided by Michael Carter, CUANY compliance director, who focused on the National Credit Union Administration's risk-based capital (RBC) proposal.
Leadership at the Credit Union National Association has been working to modify the NCUA's proposal, as the organization believes, in its present form, it would overburden credit unions, cause unnecessary expense, impose higher loan rates and service fees for members, and diminish returns on savings.
CUNA estimates the current RBC proposal would reduce credit unions' capital buffers by about $7.6 billion.
"I think it's extremely important that we all stay educated on the key issues that our industry is facing so we can do a better job of educating our members," said Mike Mattone, assistant vice president of Municipal CU, New York, with $1.9 billion in assets.
Additionally Monday, attendees heard presentations from state lawmakers about the importance of state-level advocacy for credit unions.
Former Rep. Vito Fossella praised credit unions specifically for their work in low-income and underbanked communities.
"When all the banks pull out, it's the credit unions that step in," Fossella said, calling credit unions a "central part of the nation's fabric who provide capital when others walk away."
On Tuesday, the group attended a legislative briefing regarding the various issues facing credit unions at the state level, including prize-linked savings accounts, state charter enhancements, "demand note" robberies, and public funds depositories.