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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Countering new lobbying tactics by the state’s banking lobby, the Missouri Credit Union Association is taking its positive `people helping people’ message directly to lawmakers with an all-day exhibit on the floor of the capitol building rotunda. The “Credit Unions in the Community Day” slated Feb. 8 includes CU-manned table displays placed between the entrances to the House and Senate chambers in which CU staffers will distribute information and answer questions on a variety of financial topics ranging from identity theft to credit scoring and financial literacy. “We thought this kind of exhibit was a good way to show lawmakers all that we are doing for local communities,” said Larry Giesing, a coordinator of the Feb. 8 program and president/CEO of Neighbors CU of St. Louis. Giesing said he expects staffers from five or six CUs as well as MCUA personnel will help man the seven tables to be set up on the rotunda floor from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Feb. 8. The displays, said Giesing, will have available materials on CU activities underway across the state highlighting, among others, programs aiding the underserved with financial help as well as steps taken to help the public on credit scoring procedures. In addition, said MCUA officials, the displays will also contain material on Foundation-backed programs like Credit Unions for Kids/Children’s Miracle Network and on Balance, the San Francisco education and counseling service that partners with CUs nationwide to assist members restore financial health. Giesing said also one table will be devoted to credit scoring, with legislators and their staffs able to get detailed data on their own financial profile. “Though we won’t have the phone jacks to do it there, we are making it easy for the lawmakers to apply for the detailed matrix on their credit score,” said Giesing. The Neighbors CU CEO said the idea for the “Community Day” arose several weeks ago among a group of CU executives seeking ways to counter aggressive courting this fall of lawmakers by the Missouri Bankers Association through a series of regional breakfasts. “I think the last one was in November but we’ve heard they’ve held about four of these with legislators,” said Giesing. The MCUA, he said, hopes Community Day would help balance the negative banker message about “credit unions abandoning their mission etc. and the nonsense about the level playing field and how big they are becoming” to a positive one of demonstrating all the beneficial programs offered in local communities. Amy McLard, vice president of public affairs for MCUA, said MCUA is in the process of recruiting CU executives to staff each table with two reps to a table. “Our Credit Unions in the Community Day will focus on the unique things we do in our communities,” she said. One of the tables will feature materials on MOSAFE, which stands for Missourians Stopping Adult Financial Exploitation, a financial counseling service which attempts to halt exploitation of the elderly, a growing problem in Missouri and elsewhere. MCUA staffers said it may be the first time a financial trade group has used the rotunda floor for education purposes, though over the years Missouri colleges and local convention bureaus have set up tables and booths to put out promotional messages. In light of stepped-up banker attacks this year, the Missouri League is not alone in trying to reach out to legislators in innovative ways. The Nebraska League on Jan. 12 held a “Jam the Unicam” event in which scores of CU members crowded the state capitol in Lincoln to educate lawmakers. And on March 16 CU executives and volunteers in the Vermont League will host a table in the Card Room of the Vermont Statehouse to give lawmakers an opportunity to meet their CU constituents. -

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