Veteran broadcast journalist Ted Koppel’s warning about our nation’s vulnerability to a potentially catastrophic cyberattack, visits from top regulatory agency officials, and breakout sessions on payment technology breakthroughs and digital grassroots campaigns highlighted the action at CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference on Tuesday in Washington, D.C.
The U.S. is at risk of a “cyber Pearl Harbor” that could crash the nation’s electrical grids, paralyzing financial services and many other essential aspects of daily life, said Koppel, who spent 25 years as anchor of ABC’s “Nightline.”
“There's no plan” to prevent this cyberattack from foreign threats such as Russia, China, and the Islamic State, said Koppel, who interviewed a variety of national agencies, aid associations, and security and power grid experts for his best-selling book “Lights Out: A Cyberattack, a Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath.”
Also at GAC on Tuesday, NCUA Vice Chairman Rick Metsger presented the agency’s priorities for 2016, while Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), praised credit unions for making consumer protection “Job No. 1” long before the bureau even came into existence.
Capitol Hill visits will shift into full gear Wednesday, but some leagues met their congressional representatives already on Tuesday. The Maine Credit Union League explained to three legislators the nearly $50 million dollars siphoned by regulatory burden annually in Maine would be better spent on lower rates, higher dividends, and new services for members.
CUNA highlighted the Dora Maxwell Award winners (social responsibility) and Louise Herring Award winners (philosophy in action) in video presentations during the Tuesday morning general session, and GAC attendees received a 24-page commemorative program featuring those recipients as well as Alphonse Desjardins Award winners (adult and youth financial education).
The abundance of selfie sticks at GAC testifies to the many video testimonials attendees have recorded and posted to social media to explain the #CUdifference, a new awareness campaign.
The annual slate of GAC appearances by U.S. legislators began with visits from Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., and Sen. John Tester, D-Mont., with nearly 10 more congressional representatives scheduled to speak on Wednesday.
CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle hosted a Town Hall Meeting, moderated by CUNA Chief of Staff and Chief Operating Officer Rich Meade, at which he answered questions from GAC attendees.
And the afternoon ended with attendees strolling the Exhibit Hall for one last time, taking in all of the new products and service ideas the nearly 250 vendors offered.