CUNA, Leagues, and credit unions engaged with hundreds of state lawmakers from around the country over the last few weeks at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in Atlanta and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) in Denver.
Credit unions, represented by Marcus Daley of Mountain America Credit Union, and other industry experts conducted a panel discussion on digital assets—including cryptocurrency and blockchain—at ALEC, which was attended by more than 50 legislators.
“The Digital Assets panel assembled by CUNA and the Leagues at ALEC provided valuable insight into the issues facing the crypto currency market. With lawmakers from across the county present, credit unions showed they’re being proactive in bridging the gap between traditional and digital financial services,” said Blake Westbrook, deputy director of governmental affairs, League of Southeastern Credit Unions.
CUNA Chief Economist Mike Schenk gave a presentation on credit unions' role in mitigating banking deserts, especially for underserved communities, for ALEC Committee members.
“For conferences such as ALEC where lawmakers seek to take back model legislation to their home states, it is critical to have a seat at the table when issues impacting credit unions are being brought up” said Billy Boylston, vice president of governmental affairs for the Carolinas Credit Union League. “I appreciated the efforts from the CUNA team to offer subject matter experts from the credit union perspective on crypto currency that lawmakers might not have had the opportunity to learn from – including a state senator from my home state in South Carolina that was in the room.”
The credit union presence was felt at NCSL as soon as legislators arrived in Denver. The GoWest Credit Union Association sponsored a “plane to plane” credit union awareness strategy that welcomed legislators in the airport concourses and baggage claim areas, on digital billboards outside the airport, inside the convention center where the conference was held, and in strategic locations throughout the city’s downtown area.
“The opportunity to effectively communicate the benefits of credit unions to policymakers in a big way, was made possible by the collaboration and support of our member credit unions,” said GoWest President/CEO Troy Stang. “Showcasing how credit unions’ not-for-profit, cooperative structure delivers benefits to members and positively impacts communities helps to ensure elected officials are more likely to support our legislative and regulatory priorities.”
CUNA and Leagues also manned an America’s Credit Unions booth at the convention, and Schenk gave a presentation on financial well-being.
“Members are therefore both more likely to engage in behaviors that improve financial well-being and to say that their financial institution has actually improved their financial well-being,” Schenk said.