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NEW YORK – There were several items on schedule for credit union league staff to cover over three days at the American Association of Credit Union Leagues’ summer meeting last month, and most of that time was spent talking about CURIA, the ways leagues can fine tune their strategies to make sure the legislation is passed, and the credit union-to-bank charter issue. The conference July 14-16 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel here gave league representatives the chance not only for CUNA to update attendees on the progress of the legislation, but for attendees to share best practices in garnering grassroots support among members for the measure as well as the success they’re having with generating support and interest from credit unions. “Rallying the troops in defense of something that clearly diminishes the success of individual credit unions is one thing,” said AACUL Chairman Paul Mercer, president/CEO, Ohio Credit Union League referring to the successful grassroots campaign that was launched and led to the passage of H.R. 1151, the Credit Union Membership Access Act and comparing it with the on-going campaign to secure passage of CURIA. “With 1151, we were fighting to save our lives, membership eligibility was at stake,” he said. “With CURIA, we’re proactively working to enhance the credit union charter, and that’s a different animal and requires a different strategy,” he added. “With CURIA the credit union movement is playing the offense in Congress to fashion the laws and rules for the betterment of credit unions,so we’re spending a lot of time discussing the different kinds of tactics happening at CUNA and the leagues,” said Mercer. While CURIA took up a large portion of attendees’ time, so did another hot and timely issue – the conversion of credit unions to bank charter. Mercer said “there is a great deal of concern about the issues related to full disclosure and unjust enrichment, and we spent a lot of time talking about those concerns.” AACUL has organized a task force that’s in the process of compiling a report that analyzes the various “complex issues” surrounding the conversion debate. The task force presented some of its preliminary research findings at the conference, and Mercer said there was also discussion of possible policy statements. Noting that “several leagues have had experiences with conversions, so they were able to share their experiences with us and offer advice,” Mercer said, “The leagues are working hard with CUNA to make sure the primary orientation is to preserve the options credit unions need and stay focused on issues related to disclosure. There are a lot of many different complex issues, and it’s the job of the task force to investigate those issues.” Mercer said he wasn’t sure if the AACUL Political Action and Grassroots Taskforce would be meeting again before the association’s winter meeting next January in Naples, Fla., but he said they would definitely touch base in September at CUNA’s Future Forum in San Francisco. “There are a lot of important issues developing that are consuming a lot of our energies,” said Mercer. -

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