Responding to heightened legislative burdens in Austin and Washington as faced by credit unions, the Texas Credit Union League is on a campaign to sharply hone government relations skills using online vehicles.
Starting earlier this month and continuing into 2011, the league has been signing up CU executives for a three-part set of training webinars providing everything from basic skills of how to greet, meet and talk to lawmakers to how bills are passed and the role of lobbyists.
"So far we had 60 of the legislative coordinators sign up for our first Navigator webinar Nov. 4 and we expect many more for the final two Dec. 2 and Jan.6," said Jim Phelps, assistant vice president of advocacy and chapters.
The Navigator program, begun in 2009, focused in large part on distribution of training literature and tool guides to assist key CU representatives charged with government relations duties and also included in-person seminars at the annual State Government Affairs conference.
Considering the blizzard of legislative alerts and CU compliance concerns, the Texas League decided earlier this year to step up its training of CU legislative coordinators using powerpoint webinars, Phelps said.
There are currently 167 legislative coordinators among Texas CUs, compared to only 50 in 2009, he said.
In a message promoting Navigator, the Texas League said it understands that "learning your way around your state capital can be a challenge, but learning to navigate the political process to become a strong advocate for your credit union can be even tougher" but particularly important during the Texas legislative session in 2011.