More than 1,500 credit unions – about one in four – have participated in CUNA’s three-week-old “Don’t Tax My Credit Union” initiative, according to Richard Gose, senior vice president of political affairs.
That’s produced more than 65,000 messages to Congress through a CUNA website created specifically for the campaign, the trade group said Monday.
Some credit unions have promoted the site to their members, using Facebook, Twitter, website banner ads and even direct mail advertising, Gose said.
Others have just used the promotional website to send letters to members of Congress from executives and volunteers. That site has received more than 185,000 page views from more than 92,000 unique visitors, Gose said, directed from credit unions and ads placed by CUNA in social media.
And, said Executive Vice President of Government Affairs John Magill, Congress is listening. Magill recently attended a congressional event with about 25 elected officials, and said some told him the campaign is already making an impression.
Grassroots participation from credit union members is important not only because lawmakers are influenced by voters, but also because many new faces on Capitol Hill are not familiar with the power of the credit union movement, Gose said.
Only about 30% of the current Congress was in office in 1998, when credit unions scored their most recent major legislative victory with H.R. 1151, the Credit Union Member Access Act, Gose said.
Sending that powerful grassroots message regarding tax status will have a positive residual effect when credit unions ask for other legislative priorities like a higher member business lending cap or supplemental capital authority, the CUNA lobbyist added.
Magill said a tax reform bill may be introduced later this summer, but credit unions should not wait until then to get involved.
“We’re a small part of a huge bill,” Magill said. “This isn’t an up or down vote like H.R. 1151. We could get lost in the white noise and chaos, so we want to have our voice heard now.”