Some Well-Rehearsed Preaching to the Choir
For a dozen years, I’ve attended events like NAFCU’s Congressional Caucus and CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference. Every year, wise members of Congress play to their audience, smile and shake hands. If there were babies there to kiss at a credit union conference, they’d be doing that too. Politicians stay politicians by telling the people what they want to hear. Actually doing something is an entirely different question.
One of the hot topics during the caucus was the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Many of the members acknowledged that credit unions were simply collateral damage in the legislative maelstrom occurring in kneejerk reaction to the financial crisis. GOP Rep. Randy Neugebauer noted, “We understand what CFPB is going to mean. We understand what impact interchange is going to have and everything that’s pouring out of this administration.”
It takes more than Rep. Kurt Schrader saying, “The increase in the small business lending cap–that’s got to happen,” or Rep. Tim Scott during his motivating address stating, “We need to empower the people making good decisions to keep in making good decisions.” Rep. Scott made a much more important point: Credit unions must keep their members engaged in the process.
Credit union executives visiting members of Congress is critical, but getting the credit union members involved is priceless. That hasn’t happened since the Campaign for Consumer Choice.