Ryan Donovan

Employ the two tenets of advocacy

Tell legislators your story and build relationships with them.

February 22, 2016

Advocacy isn’t rocket science, but rather the combination of two things: telling your story and building relationships.

That’s the formula CUNA relies upon to press for legislation that allows credit unions to better serve their members—and the recipe credit unions should keep in mind when they Hike the Hill during the Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC), according to Ryan Donovan, CUNA’s chief advocacy officer (shown above).

Donovan, who kicked off the advocacy update during Monday afternoon’s general session, urged GAC attendees to deliver three key messages to legislators in meetings this week on Capitol Hill:

1. NCUA’s field of membership rule will help consumers access credit unions;
2. Regulatory burden impedes credit union service and leads to consolidation; and
3. Ask representatives to sign the Stivers-Schiff letter, which addresses CFPB exemption authority, and ask senators to adopt the Shelby regulatory relief bill.

“After you take the message to people on Capitol Hill, don’t forget to follow up with the people on Capitol Hill,” Donovan said.

Other presenters included:

• Richard Gose, CUNA’s chief political officer, who underscored the value of educating the 105 million credit union members to act as credit union advocates. “Bankers are on the attack and are going to continue to be on the attack until we once and for all activate our members and get them involved to push back,” he said.

• Rich Meade, CUNA chief of staff and chief operating officer, who stressed that the fight to protect credit unions’ tax status must be waged at the state level as well as nationally.

“When these bank attacks occur in states, they don’t happen in a vacuum,” Meade said. “If a change occurs in one state, you could quickly see Congress adopt that law.”

• Vincent Hui, senior director at Cornerstone Advisors, which conducted a survey for CUNA that revealed regulatory burden had a $7.2 billion impact on credit unions in 2014 alone—representing 80% of industry earnings and 5.9% of net worth.