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DULUTH, Ga. – Mike Culbertson, the former president of Credit Union Service Corp. who departed the big shared branch processor last March by “mutual agreement,” is returning to the business of lobbying and state league administration. Culbertson, a veteran League staffer who served seven years as president of the Kansas Credit Union Association and held management jobs with the Ohio Credit Union League and Corporate One, has been named vice president-state government affairs with Georgia Credit Union Affiliates, effective Sept. 2. “We think this is a terrific match for us in having Mike with his background join our lobbying team and provide a credit union presence at the state house all year long,” declared Cindy Connelly, senior vice president-advocacy at Georgia Credit Union Affiliates. Connelly said Culbertson’s experience in CU liaison and contact with lawmakers should prove beneficial in 2004 as the industry comes to grips with such issues as a potential budget crunch, payday lending, and federal charter preemption. Though Georgia has been spared major banker attacks, Culbertson’s hiring strengthens the lobbying position in the state in the event banks begin targeting Georgia CUs on taxes, said the League. “With banker attacks spreading around the country and the issues impacting credit unions multiplying,” the Georgia League said Culbertson’s hiring would bolster its overall lobbying program. Culbertson, 51, would become the League’s third registered lobbyist. In addition to Connelly, also on the advocacy team is Heather Miner, government affairs specialist. Back in March, Credit Union Service Corp., also based in Duluth and a major provider of shared branch services to CUs nationwide, said Culbertson had resigned to pursue “personal and professional interests.” He had been with CUSC since 1996. Culbertson was succeeded in the CEO job at the network by 63-year-old Carroll Beach, a former chairman of CUSC and retired president of the Colorado Credit Union League. Beach, who has long done consulting for CUSC, retired from the Colorado post in June 2002 after a 29-year career with that League. Beach’s son, Craig, is currently vice president of communications at CUSC. Regarding hiring Culbertson, Georgia Credit Union Affiliates noted that Culbertson had long been active in the legislative and regulatory arenas at both the national and state level in his Kansas Credit Union Association job where he was “actively involved in the development of shared branching services.” During his tenure at the Kansas League, he also served as CEO of Kansas Corporate Credit Union for year. He began his career in 1972 as assistant branch manager with SIC Credit Corp. and in 1976 became branch manager at Credit Union of America in Overland Park, Kan. He served as executive vice president of State Bank of Lancaster, a CU-owned Kansas bank, and in 1983 was vice president of the service corp. at the KCUA. He later joined the Ohio Credit Union League as vice president, and in 1989 served as vice president of Corporate One. He returned to the Kansas League in 1989 becoming president until taking the CUSC job. Connelly said the addition of Culbertson to the League staff enables her to devote more time to the federal side while Culbertson can concentrate on state issues. She said the GCUA, unlike other Leagues that have frequently opted for outside lawyers as paid consultants, maintains hiring of internal lobbyists is the more practical means of directing advocacy. “There’s lots of work to be done here in political PAC work, educating credit unions and legislators on the key issues as well as handling the media,” said Connelly. Lobbying has become paramount in Georgia, she said, in light of the overhaul in state politics with a first-time Republican governor, Sonny Perdue, and a switch in the state senate from Democrat to Republican. “This is an appropriate time to make these kinds of changes,” said Connelly noting also she approached Culbertson about taking the League job “when I heard he was available and if he’d be interested.” Culbertson told Credit Union Times one of his goals will be to “solidify the credit union community” in preparing for any banker assault since that industry preys on states “which are weak” in terms of revenue. In other words, banking’s strategy is to raise the tax-CU issue in states facing the severest revenue decline, he said. Georgia has been in good financial shape, but “we want to be ready.” -

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