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Credit union leaders from Wisconsin were strong advocates in D.C.


A record 4,400-plus credit union advocates attended the Credit Union National Association's Governmental Affairs Conference in February, including nearly 60 Activists from Wisconsin. Their presence sent Congress a strong message that credit unions are attentive and engaged on a variety of issues crucial to the industry including taxation, member business lending, housing finance reform, data security and more.


Wisconsin representatives played important roles throughout the four-day Conference in Washington, D.C. League VP of Government Affairs Tom Liebe moderated a panel discussion for a standing room-only crowd on an engaged credit union board and their role in advocacy. John Sackett, a Board Member for Royal Credit Union, and Chairman of CUNA's Volunteer Leadership Committee, served as a panelist.


Wisconsin Young Professional Nathan Lang participated in exclusive sessions for young professionals as the YP chosen from our state to Crash the GAC.


Former CUNA Board Chair and Central City Credit Union CEO, Wisconsin's Pat Wesenberg, addressed a general assembly of attendees to highlight the Unite for Good efforts taking place at credit unions across the country. Wesenberg was also inducted, with UW Credit Union's long-time director Phil Hellmuth, into the Credit Union House Hall of Leaders. Plaques recognizing these two Wisconsin leaders for dedicating their lives to perpetuating the credit union mission and philosophy hang in the Credit Union House in Washington, D.C.


League President & CEO Brett Thompson was also honored during the Conference as a recipient of the Farley Award. The award, given by the American Association of Credit Union Leagues, recognized Thompson's visionary leadership at the state and national levels including pioneering the Wisconsin REAL Solutions program and efforts to increase youth financial education and credit union awareness. 


Wisconsin Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee) shared her appreciation for credit unions and the needed services they provide low-income communities and women, in particular, during the World Council of Credit Unions' Global Women's Leadership Network breakfast. Her comments were based on both the crucial support she's seen credit unions provide in her district and her personal experiences using credit unions and helping organize the former Cream City Community Development CU in Milwaukee. 


Other conference highlights included:


  • Strong "Don't Tax My Credit Union" support on social media from Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin, who voiced her support to Wisconsin Activists that reached out to her for CUNA's third "Don't Tax Tuesday" campaign.



League President & CEO Brett Thompson received the Farley Award.
  • New member business lending (MBL) legislation. The bill, called the Credit Union Residential Loan Parity Act, would exempt one-to four-unit non-occupied dwellings from credit unions' current member business lending cap, set at 12.25% of assets. These type of housing loans make up around 20% of credit union MBL balances.






  • Presentations by key regulators, including NCUA Board Member Michael Fryzel. He urged credit unions to increase membership, provide opportunities for financial literacy and continue offering better rates on loans and savings while helping Americans prepare for retirement. He also advised credit unions to prepare for human-caused challenges. 




  • A challenge for credit unions to improve their outreach, by National Credit Union Foundation Executive Director Gigi Hyland. She said timing is critical, in that a recent survey found that 19% of Americans spend more than they earn, 26% have unpaid medical debt and 56% have no emergency savings.


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