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Activists fend off bankers' attack on independent CU regulator


More than 3,000 contacts to state lawmakers by credit union Activists in less than two weeks have fended off the Wisconsin Bankers Association's efforts to harm credit unions as part of the state Budget Bill. The win offers an example of credit unions' unity successfully removing barriers that would inhibit credit unions' success.


The immediate and effective grassroots response from 90 different credit unions resulted in the Joint Committee on Finance electing not to even publicly introduce the WBA amendment that would have eliminated the independence of the Office of Credit Unions.Image


The Wisconsin Bankers Association's covert lobbying effort sought lawmakers' support for an amendment to the state budget that would have made the Office of Credit Unions a division of the Department of Financial Institutions. And while bankers claimed that credit unions should support the measure, credit union Activists sent a clear message that the proposal did not originate from and was not supported by credit unions.


The Governor, the OCU, DFI or Department of Administration also did not request or recommend changing the agency's alignment in the current budget bill. Only the bankers and their members were actively supporting this unnecessary change.

Upon discovering this most recent WBA scheme, The League immediately circulated a memo to the Joint Committee on Finance explaining some of the key reasons to reject the WBA nonsense.


"At its core, this was an issue of the WBA once again asking legislators to help them undermine credit unions using deceiftul messages and a sneaky process," said League VP of Government Affairs Tom Liebe.


"Our message was so loud and so clear that the Legislature ended up providing us with a best-case outcome; they told the bankers that they wouldn't even consider introducing the anti-credit union amendment. Only a week before, the bankers believed they had all the votes they needed to pull this fast one. They were dead wrong."


Continue to strengthen relationships with your legislators by sending a note of appreciation.


The budget amendment process at the committee level will not be complete until next Tuesday, so The League continues to monitor the process so as to not be surprised by a stealth amendment.


In addition, the costs related to two new credit union examiners – which Activists lobbied legislators to include in the budget during our State Government Affairs Conference in January - have been allowed to remain in the state Budget Bill.




The Unite for Good effort is an internal growth strategy developed by CUNA in conjunction with its Board, state leagues, credit unions and system partners. The plan's action steps – to remove barriers, increase awareness and foster service excellence–are aimed at helping more credit unions become their members' primary financial institution by compelling members to see credit unions as their best financial partner. Read more articles in our Unite for Good series.

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