Despite the threat of a new banker Super PAC on Capitol Hill, CUNA says it has no plans to create a similar campaign fundraising mechanism for credit unions.
Instead, credit unions will continue to work grassroots support, soliciting many small-dollar individual contributions instead of a few large ones, said Vice President of Political Affairs Trey Hawkins.
Credit unions have the advantage of 94 million members, of which 65% say a candidate’s stance on credit union issues matters to them. Banks can’t compete with that, Hawkins said.
CUNA Vice President of Communications Pat Keefe added that the trade encourages credit unions to engage their members through partisan communications; for example, sending mailings urging support for individual candidates who are friendly to credit unions.
Given how many members factor a candidate’s position on credit unions into their voting, such communications could be extremely powerful, he said.
The banker SuperPAC, “Friends of Traditional Banking”, is a project of the Utah Bankers Association PAC, and includes representatives from 10 other state banking PACs on its Advisory Council, according to its website.
The Super PAC could project banker influence beyond that of credit unions; last year, CUNA’s PAC donated more to federal candidates and committees last year than its counterpart for the American Bankers Association, $1.4 million to $1.08 million, comparatively.
NAFCU said it has no comment on the Super PAC or its plans to counter the new lobbying effort.