Credit unions connect with state legislators at ALEC, NCSL

August 17, 2023

The credit union difference was on display for state legislators over the past few weeks as CUNA, Leagues, and credit unions attended the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in Orlando and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) in Indianapolis.

State legislators and policy experts attended ALEC to deliberate on issues circulating in state capitals across the country - including environmental, social, and governance (ESG) and state economic reforms.

“ALEC provides more than just model bills and policies; they provide critical relationship building opportunities,” said Michelle Roth, senior director of governmental affairs at League of Southeastern Credit Unions. “This conference is a valuable way to learn what's working in other states, network with peers, and discuss future initiatives with policymakers.”

ALEC also voted on a resolution opposing the adoption and development of a central bank digital currency (CBDC). It resolves that state agencies will not accept or require central bank digital currency payments.

CUNA wrote the Federal Reserve last year that it has serious concerns that creation of a CBDC could “significantly worsen the provision of financial services.”

The Indiana Credit Union League hosted CUNA and nine other Leagues at NCSL. The League also sponsored a coffee lounge in the shared credit union booth, which helped generate additional visitors.

"It was an important and very effective collaborative advocacy effort as governmental affairs staff of leagues and CUNA met with state legislators from across the country," said Indiana Credit Union League President John McKenzie. "The credit union message was front and center in the exhibit hall, on the mobile lighted signage truck driving around the downtown area where legislators were gathered, and in the conversations and presentations about interchange and other key issues."  

Credit unions were also featured on the Wi-Fi log-in, NCSL app, a banner wrapping a sky bridge to the convention center, several posted sponsorship signage around the venue, a moving “billboard truck,” and during the Interchange Learning Hub presentation.  

CUNA Chief Political Officer Richard Gose and Visa Vice President of State Relations Paul Russinoff facilitated the Interchange Learning Hub presentation, which featured information for lawmakers on the payments system, the inability to do what the big box interchange bill suggests, and how credit unions use the current system to protect members’ data and extend credit to those who need it most.