Credit unions on track to spend $7M in support of CU champions

September 21, 2020

CUNA is on track to spend $7 million in support of congressional candidates from both sides of the aisle this cycle It is backing candidates who have a history of standing behind credit unions’ mission to deliver not-for-profit, member-owned financial services in communities across the country. According to recent data, 1 in 3 Americans are credit union members and 44% of registered voters belong to a credit union.  

“It’s no secret that many voters vote their pocketbook,” said Trey Hawkins, CUNA Deputy Chief Advocacy Officer for Political Action. “We’re leaning into that by reminding voters that who they elect to Congress will have a direct effect on how their credit union is best able to meet their financial needs in this challenging economy.”

To mobilize voters, CUNA created the Credit Unions Vote campaign, which helps over 5,000 credit unions connect local voters with up-to-date information on registering to vote, polling locations and vote-by-mail options, as well as details on the candidates on their ballot.

CUNA and its federal political action committee, Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC), will soon launch a series of targeted political ads to influence voters in key federal races. In addition to mailers sent to credit union members and other voters, the PAC will use microtargeting to deliver digital video ads to voters via Hulu, YouTube, Facebook, and other digital platforms.

“Credit unions exist to serve everyone, and our agenda is only that given to us by Congress: ‘to promote thrift and provide access to credit for provident purposes,’” said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “This is an extension of that—we’re focused on helping those candidates who understand the credit union difference, and who have supported us in serving our members.”

CULAC is ranked as one of the most bipartisan PACs, as measured by its candidate support and grassroots fundraising. With donations from more than 33,500 of America’s credit union members, CULAC’s average annual donor contributes just $84 annually, and more than 60% of all receipts are from donors giving less than $200 a year. 

CUNA and the state credit union leagues supported 365 congressional candidates in their primaries 352 of whom won. This marked a 96% success rate as the trade group’s endeavors to give credit unions a voice on both sides of the aisle.