Credit unions and their trade associations are lobbying members of Congress in their home states — and gaining some ground —while lawmakers are on a break from Washington until April 16.
Following the League of Southeastern Credit Union’s state governmental affairs conference in Montgomery, Ala. last week, credit unions picked up Rep. Bill Posey (R-Fla.) as co-sponsor of H.R. 3993, the secondary capital bill, and Reps. Debbie Wasserman-Shultz (D-Fla.), Sandy Adams (R-Fla.), Allen West (R-Fla.), Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.), Kathy Castor (R-Fla.), and Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) as co-sponsors of H.R. 3461, the exam fairness bill, according to league Vice President of Marketing and Communications Mike Bridges.
Southeastern credit unions are also actively advocating in support of member business lending legislation, telling the stories of small businesses. The $65 million Jefferson Credit Union of Birmingham, Ala., created and posted a video on YouTube that showcases a local business that was able to expand thanks to credit union lending.
“Many of our credit unions were able to articulate to our lawmakers last month at the GAC exactly how this legislation would affect their local small businesses that have had trouble getting access to capital,” said LSCU President/CEO Patrick La Pine.
“The LSCU was one of the first leagues to bring small business owners to Washington, D.C. to meet with lawmakers. We have done the same in the district. For MBLs and supplemental capital, the League and credit unions were able to refute many of the negative messaging from the banks,” La Pine said.
La Pine said part of his group’s success in wooing lawmakers was to communicate that credit unions’ motivation is the “real needs of consumers.”
“We don’t oppose the legislation that the bankers are putting forth, we just feel that if you are going to give them regulatory relief, that credit unions deserve the same courtesy,” he said.
CUNA has added support to state advocacy efforts by running radio ads in Alabama and eight additional states, according to Richard Gose, CUNA senior vice president of political affairs.