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BILLINGS, Mont. – Looking to a planned recodification of the state’s credit union code in January, the Montana Credit Union League concluded a special nine-day series of “Legislator Appreciation and Education Nights” here last week as the League tries to encourage more grassroots involvement from credit unions and their members. “These state-wide dinner meetings sponsored by our chapters have worked quite well in presenting information on credit unions to legislators as well as exchanging ideas,” said Scott Morrison, League assistant vice president. The state legislature is slated to examine the 1975 statute with an eye toward modernization and clarification, particularly on electronic banking, field of membership, financial literacy and other areas, said the League. Morrison was joined in coordinating the “Education Nights” with Robert Pyfer, the League’s senior vice president and general counsel. Morrison covered chapter meetings on the east side of the state noting, “I think I drove 1,000 miles during eight days.” Pyfer meanwhile trekked the western portion. The turnout at each of the “Appreciation Night” dinners drew about 20 to 30 credit union executives and attracted two or three legislators from local districts with nine out of the state’s 10 chapters taking part. These kinds of meetings can prove beneficial, said Morrison, in helping educate lawmakers “who we really are.” It was noted that the Montana Bankers Association held similar events during the year, and in one session last spring there “was a bit of bashing” of CUs on the tax exempt issue, as one CU executive put it. Kevin Mayer, manager of the $19 million-Richland Federal Credit Union in Sidney and president of the Nemont Chapter, said a dinner session in Glendive “drew two legislators and we did what we could to keep them informed on the issues.” As for banker “bashing,” he said individual relations with banks in eastern Monday have been positive. “I think many are accepting that we have a niche in rural America.” -

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