To leave a lasting impression on lawmakers during this week’s visits on Capitol Hill, credit union leaders must be ready to tell their story, CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle said.
Speaking to a record number of attendees at the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference on Monday—and, for the first time, a virtual audience via Facebook Live—Nussle said it’s not professional advocates from CUNA and the leagues who will have the greatest influence on lawmakers.
Rather, that opportunity rests with the credit union leaders in the room—the people who can speak directly for their consumer members.
“It’s going to be up to you to be that advocacy army and actually deliver on telling that story,” Nussle said.
For many activists on the Hill this week, that story will center on the problems created by the havoc one-size-fits-all regulations have wreaked on credit union operations.
That’s why CUNA and the leagues created the Campaign for Common-Sense Regulation, Nussle said.
CUNA spent 18 months reaching out to its member credit unions by conducting polls, surveys, and focus groups, and found that regulatory burden is the top issue the industry faces.
Given credit unions’ success in last year’s elections through the work of the Credit Union Legislative Action Council—and the favorable political environment for reducing regulations—credit unions must get involved in the Campaign for Common-Sense Regulation now, Nussle said.
“We need to make sure we get our point across that we don’t want a rigged system, we don’t want one-size-fits-all regulations,” Nussle said. “We want to make sure that the regulations that we have are common sense.”
Yet, while the advocacy work at the GAC is critical, Nussle said advocacy can’t end at the conclusion of the conference. Credit union advocacy must continue with league Hike the Hill trips, engagement in the CUNA Member Activation Program, and in-branch visits back home to make the biggest difference possible for credit unions and their members.
“So if you’re just going to jump on a plane and go home and say, ‘Yeah that was pretty fun, that’s the last I’m going to worry about this,’ I’ve got news for you,” Nussle said. “I need you in this fight.”