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<p>WASHINGTON-Taking a chance on a huge investment in Credit Union House, the venture has turned out to be a big success according to investors and visitors alike who say they are so far impressed with the results. When prompted about the amount of bang-for-the-buck invested in Credit Union House, Texas Credit Union League Vice President of Corporate Relations Randy E. Pruett said, “Absolutely no question about that. Absolutely no question.the value is clearly there.” He added the building is extremely well done and the proximity to Capitol Hill is beneficial. The Texas CU League, in conjunction with the Oklahoma Credit Union League, held a reception at the facility just a few weeks ago. Everyone who has been there has raved about the building, Pruett said. In fact, when a credit union leader attending the reception gave the address to a cab driver on his way to the reception, the cabbie replied, “Oh, the Credit Union House.” Pennsylvania Credit Union League President Jim McCormack admitted that he was nervous about the idea and investment at first. However, after seeing the results, he is very pleased with the leagues’ decision to support the effort. “[Credit Union House] has given us a visibility that we’ve never had before,” he said. The Oklahoma league donated $100,000 to the Credit Union House and league Vice President of Marketing Lisa Finley said, “Credit unions here in Oklahoma that have been to see it have really seen the value of it.” They have been fortunate enough to host a breakfast for Congressmen Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) or the Financial Services Committee and John Sullivan (R-Okla.) in March at Credit Union House. The group also recently held a reception there, which was attended by several staffers from Sullivan’s, Lucas’, and Congressman Ernest Istook (R-Okla.) of the Appropriations Committee. Credit union groups are rushing to fill Credit Union House this summer. In June alone, eleven days are reserved for various credit union leagues to hold meetings. Last week, the Connecticut Credit Union Association and the South Carolina Credit Union League held events at the facility on Capitol Hill. The Kentucky, Michigan, Maine, Virginia, Arkansas, and Washington Credit Union Leagues, and the Missouri Credit Union System, as well as CUNA’s Development Educators (DE) summer workshop, fill in the rest of the month. The DE is a part of CUNA that for 20 years has promoted the credit union philosophy outside of the typical savings and loans issues, to delve more into broader issues such as homelessness and hunger, according to Director of Donor and Public Relations for the National Credit Union Foundation and DE Program Director Bruce Wheeler. The group has invited Senator Joe Biden (D-Del.), who also serves on the bankruptcy reform conference committee, to come to the workshop, because he is partially responsible for the group’s formation. The Colorado Credit Union System and Wyoming Credit Union League recently staged events at Credit Union House, which drew several lawmakers, newly installed President Jim Holt said. Senators Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) of the Banking and Small Business Committees and Wayne Allard (R-Colo.), also on the Banking Committee, visited Credit Union House at the invite of the leagues. The leagues also hosted a dinner there attended by a couple of congressmen. The Colorado and Wyoming leagues definitely feel they got their money’s worth with investments of $400,000 and $40,000, respectively, Holt said. He indicated that they had not received any significant monetary reward for their efforts but the prestige and political connection were worth the investment. The Colorado Credit Union League received a much appreciated but surprising call from Credit Union House recently. Mike Feeley, a Democratic candidate for Colorado’s new seventh district, called the league from inside the house to compliment the credit union community on the facility. The credit union officials also took advantage of the office space at Credit Union House to keep in touch with their institutions while performing their service on Capitol Hill, Holt said. August looks to be a slow month with nothing scheduled yet, but Credit Union House Manager Kyle Noble explained that is to be expected since Congress is on recess for the month and NCUA does not have a board meeting scheduled. Other than that, the schedule is fairly full through October. Congress is scheduled to recess October 4 to allow candidates time to campaign. Noble added that advertising for Credit Union House usage is something that is going to be discussed, but it is not advertised right now. “That’s definitely something we’re going to look at,” she commented, adding, “It belongs to the leagues so they’re the primary users.” When the New England leagues were in Washington recently, they invited Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) to visit the facility with them. According to Noble, he “raved” about the building, the third floor of which overlooks the Capitol building. Credit Union House is also in discussions with an area non-profit for use of the facilities in June. Other congressmen have used Credit Union House for their own events, including Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and Representative Mark Udall (D-Colo.), as well as Tennessee House Candidate Jim Cooper. At the end of May, the non-profit Congressional Hispanic Caucus also leased the building. “I think it’s provided a good link back to credit unions,” Noble said. The current charge for use of the facility is $1,000 for non-CUNA affiliates and $500 for CUNA affiliates. However, those fees are soon to be reconsidered, taking into account the fees for comparable facilities in the area. While Credit Union House was organized as a for-profit Limited Liability Company for technical legal reasons, the “basic thrust” is to be self-sustaining, Noble explained. [email protected]</p>

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