CUNA leadership got a pleasant reminder over the weekend how helpful it is to have a strong industry proponent in the Illinois governor’s chair.
Speaking at a Chicago conference, the state’s Democratic chief executive, Pat Quinn, who happens to belong to three credit unions, strongly endorsed the industry and “its positive role in helping in the nation’s economic recovery.”
“I think many of the league CEOs came away impressed that we have such a strong advocate,” said Keith Sias, director of state governmental affairs for the Illinois Credit Union League after Quinn spoke to the summer conference of the American Association of Credit Union Leagues.
In a surprise gesture before an audience of league CEOs and CUNA brass at a Chicago hotel, the governor also signed a key, league-backed housekeeping bill and received a standing ovation from the several hundred credit union executives in attendance.
In his remarks Quinn, whose father founded a downstate credit union, commended the conference attendees for their service to members and encouraged the CEOs to continue providing low-cost financial alternatives to consumers.
“I was chairman of the Illinois league when he became governor and I recall he signed the bill that overturned what Rod Blagojevich had done,” John Bratsakis, president/CEO of the Maryland/DC Credit Union Association, said in reference to ill-fated “swipe” legislation that was later reversed by a state court that ruled against it moving bank and credit union examiner fees to a state general fund.
Blagojevich, convicted of corruption charges a year ago, is currently serving time in a minimum security Littleton, Colo. federal prison.
Bratsakis, a former senior vice president of the $1.5 billion Baxter CU in Vernon Hills, Ill. before taking the Maryland/DC job last September, said Quinn’s remarks were heartening “because he is such a greater supporter of credit unions.”
In signing the housekeeping bill, Quinn cleared up merger language and gave credit unions parity with banks on mortgages as part of a recodification of laws adopted by the state legislature in the spring.