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COLUMBIA, Md. – With Jan. 1, 2006 just a little more than two months away, the new Maryland & District of Columbia Credit Union Association continues to progress through its “to do” list to make sure it’s on track and everything that needs to get done gets done by the time the calendar changes and the merger of the Maryland and D.C. credit union leagues is official. Last month, the two leagues unveiled the logo and new Web site of the merged organization (CU Times, Sept. 28). October has been a busy month too for the MDDCCUA. On Oct. 5, Maryland credit union representatives traveled to Washington, D.C. for a Hike the Hill and to greet congressional staff at a reception at CU House and thank them for their support of credit unions. Staff from seven of Maryland’s 10 congressional offices – Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D), and Reps. Roscoe Barlett (R), C.A. Ruppersberger (D), Albert Wynn (D), Chris Van Hollen (D), Steny Hoyer (D), and Benjamin Cardin (D) – attended the reception, and several of the offices sent more than one staffer. MDDCCUA President/CEO Mike Beall said the senators and congressmen “were generally aware of the merger of the Maryland and D.C. leagues and for them it’s mostly a non-issue. Still we wanted to pass out materials and explain to them what the merger means for credit unions and members in the region so they understand what’s going on. “They immediately understood because they know the region and know that a lot of their constituents live in Maryland and work in D.C. and vice versa. We walked them through number-wise what the merger means for consumers. Although they knew it was in the works, this was the first time we officially notified them of the merger actually happening,” Beall added. The new association has also been busy working towards getting the new board seated. It will be comprised of 13 seats which will include the 10 people on the former Maryland league’s board, and three new seats to be elected by D.C. credit unions in mid-December. Beall explained the nominating committee nominated four people for those three seats and that candidate names can also be added by filing a petition. However since mid-September, no additional names have been received. Even so, Beall said, “I’m pleased we have a race going on.” The members of the new MDDCCUA Board will be officially announced and presented in mid-December at a reception the association is planning to hold at CU House. Until then, he explained, the boards of each League have been meeting jointly every other month, starting in August. They’ll meet this month and again in December which will be their last joint meeting. MDDCCUA has also been working on staffing up. On Oct. 10, two new staffers joined the governmental affairs team – Greg Saphier and Brian Tate, both with the title of Manager of Governmental Affairs. Saphier is managing relationships with Sen. Sarbanes and Reps. Gilchrest, Ruppersberger, Hoyer and Wynn. In addition, he’s managing MDDCCUA’s efforts in the Maryland Governors race and the open house race in District 3 being vacated by Rep. Cardin who is seeking the Maryland Senate seat. Prior to joining MDDCCUA, Saphier was a Legislative Assistant to Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV) and was responsible for managing a diverse range of issues including finance, product liability, and arts & humanities. Before working on Capitol Hill, he interned with the New Hampshire State Senate where he received a citation for his work during his collegiate tenure. Tate is managing relationships with Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D) and Reps. Elijah Cummings (D), Van Hollen, Bartlett and Cardin, as well as D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D). He’ll also manage MDDCCUA’s efforts in the Maryland state Senate and the open Mayor’s race in D.C. Before coming to MDDCCUA, Tate was a Legislative Assistant for former U.S. Rep. Max Sandlin (D-Texas) where he managed the congressman’s assignments on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, as well as Military/Defense, and Technology issues. In 1998 he joined then Sen. Mikulski’s staff as a Legislative Correspondent. He was also a White House intern during the Clinton Administration. Both Saphier and Tate will be working on Maryland General Assembly and D.C. government activities. Rounding out MDDCCUA’s advocacy team are Maryland lawyer Jim Brown, of Brown and Brown as a retained lobbyist on Maryland General Assembly issues, and Jeff Trammell, of Trammell and Associatiates, on a consulting contract on federal issues. Also joining MDDCCUA’s staff in December will be the D.C. League’s Sarah Turner. Her new position with the association will be Vice President of Credit Union Development. Education remains a priority for the MDDCCUA, and it has opened up attendance at any educational session offered by the D.C. or Maryland League to all affiliated credit unions of both leagues. Beall said at the volunteers conference recently held, 96 credit union representatives attended including five from D.C. CUs. In mid-November and December, MDDCCUA will begin offering its first educational sessions in D.C. In another step toward the official merger, on Oct. 4 the chairman of the Maryland Credit Union Foundation and the Maryland & District of Columbia Credit Union Association signed a Partnership Agreement that formalizes the relationship between the two groups. MDDCCUA said some of the mutually supported topics mentioned in the agreement are small credit union development, credit union staff education, CU awareness, leadership development, and financial literacy. Planning ahead for its 2006 calendar, MDDCCUA is looking at offering more than 50 full- and half-day educational sessions on a variety of topics such as compliance, lending, HR and collections. Beall said several of the sessions will be held in the new D.C. office once it’s set up. At press time, Beall and the Maryland League Board were planning to spend Oct. 18 making site visits to four different locations being considered as possibilities to lease space. Beall said MDDCCUA is looking to partner with another credit union or co-op organization to share space, and one of the primary considerations will be whether it can share training space as a way to keep costs down. The association plans to have three to five staff members working out of the district office. Another factor that will be considered in the selection process, Beall explained, is accessibility to the D.C. metro system and parking. “We want people to be able to be accessible to the space so it’s easily available to them,” he said, adding that because of the parking factor, the association will likely be looking either in downtown D.C. or toward Capitol Hill. The Maryland League has also begun opening up its business services partnerships to D.C. credit unions such as the one it has with the Allpoint ATM network. It’s still in the process of transferring services the D.C. League had managed through its prior agreement with the Virginia Credit Union League. The transfer has to be completed by Dec. 31, 2005, and Beall said the boards of both the Maryland and D.C. leagues “are still very much engaged in what’s going on to make sure we get through all the issues.” “The merger of the two leagues is an adjustment for our folks and the D.C. League folks,” said Beall. “We’ve been out meeting with both Maryland and D.C. credit unions, talking with them about the new association and the benefits. Their expectations are growing as we progress.” -

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