Leagues reflect on GAC experiences: Part 1

March 17, 2015

MADISON, Wis. (3/18/15)--Credit unions nationwide continue to report productive results from meetings on Capitol Hill in conjunction with last week's CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference.

Click to view larger imageRep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), center, with credit union leaders from California. (California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues Photo)

"Our work in Washington was a tremendous success and furthered our legislative and regulatory agendas," Diana Dykstra, president/CEO of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues, said after 225 colleagues from California and Nevada credit unions made visits to lawmakers' offices and met with regulatory officials (CU Weekly March 17).

While the House of Representatives was not in session, key congressional staffers met with credit union leaders from California and Nevada. Credit union leaders brought concerns addressing the ongoing merchant data breaches, preservation of the system's not-for-profit tax status, and remedies to provide regulatory relief and charter enhancements, such as raising the member business lending cap and offering supplemental capital.

Dykstra said congressional staffers took time to focus on credit union needs and concerns. For example, a meeting with staff from Rep. Maxine Waters' (D-Calif.) office went more than 90 minutes. This was consistent with all meetings, as congressional staff had quality time to devote.

Click to view larger imageSenate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), right, with Nevada credit union leaders. (California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues Photo)

In a meeting with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Banking Committee member Dean Heller (R-Nev.), credit union leaders from Nevada reiterated the agenda outlined by Nevada League Chairman Wally Murray, president/CEO of Greater Nevada CU, Carson City, Nev., in his recent testimony before the committee.

In that recent committee meeting, Murray addressed 191 regulatory changes handed down to financial institutions from three dozen federal agencies since January 2008, and requested Congress to strongly consider why small institutions are being asked to comply with rules more appropriately suited for too-big-to-fail banks and other "abusers of consumers."

Click to view larger imageMinnesota credit union leaders visit the office of Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.) office during last week's CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference. (Minnesota Credit Union Network Photo)

Minnesota's credit union advocates met with all 10 members of the state's U.S. Senate and House delegation or staff members to discuss the need for patent reform, reducing credit unions' regulatory burden, enacting credit union charter enhancements, protecting credit union members from merchant data breaches and preserving the credit union not-for-profit tax status.

"Credit unions do great things every day that positively impact the lives of every Minnesotan--including the more than 1.6 million who are credit union members," said Minnesota Credit Union Network Vice President of Governmental Affairs Mara Humphrey. "It's essential that our legislators understand what we do and that we keep them informed about the issues that affect credit unions."