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...because of the importance of advocacy


Part two in a series about the value of League membership


The League and its members’ shared goal is to represent the interests of more than two million Wisconsin consumers who want to retain the right to belong to a not-for-profit, member-owned financial institution that benefits them in a number of positive ways.


Together, Credit Union Activists cultivate pro-credit union allies in their communities - with media and in government - as part of a statewide public relations and advocacy campaign called "1 with The League."


Your League membership is essential in that Activists receive support from The League, including publicationscommunication materials and training opportunities that promote involvement in credit union activism. In 2011 we:


  • Preserved credit unions’ federal and state income tax-exemption.


  • Made more than 16,000 contacts through email and in person to lawmakers, administration officials, and regulators on issues including but not limited to member business lending, interchange, health savings accounts, vacant land reports, foreclosures, incidental powers, concealed carry of weapons, redistricting, the Mortgage Loan Originator Council, abandoned vehicles, a centralized agricultural lien system, credit card marketing practices, charitable contributions, the Credit Union Review Board and deposit concentration limits for banks.


  • Held in-person meetings with key regulators. Activists participated in League-facilitated roundtable discussions with the DFI and OCU. Credit Union Activists also met with leaders from NCUA – including Chairwoman Debbie Matz.


  • Organized personal meetings with state and federal legislators at the State GAC, CUNA GAC, Hike the Hill in D.C., the Gubernatorial Inauguration - and hosted individual lawmakers at meetings held at credit unions.


  • Expanded credit unions’ involvement in  REAL Solutions, which helps demonstrate the Credit Union Difference and in turn the value of preserving credit unions’ income tax exemption.


  • Circulated the  REAL Solutions Scorecard for Wisconsin Credit Unions. This report details how credit unions deliver value to their 2.2 million member-owners and their communities. These powerful and practical examples protect credit unions from additional costly regulation and taxation by showing the realities of the Credit Union Difference.


  • Used  Credit Union House across from the State Capitol as a high profile command center for grassroots initiatives. It is a central point for educational seminars, legislative briefings, fundraisers, meet and greets and committee meetings. Credit Union House also symbolizes that credit unions matter to their member-owners and are here to stay.


  • Connected with lawmakers at meet and greets, fundraisers, chapter legislative nights, in-school branch openings, regular branch openings, credit union office tours and at local public service, benevolent and business events.


  • Generated earned media opportunities for pro-credit union stories.


  • Provided free advocacy and media relations training to Wisconsin and international credit union leaders at chapter meetings, the State GAC, Hike the Hill, Credit Union House and through the Activist Arsenal, League Facebook page and Media Relations Facebook group.


  • Delayed the implementation of another state government data match program by the Department of Health Services which, if implemented as initially proposed, would have increased credit union liability, reputation risk and costs.


  • Provided on-demand video testimonials for government officials to show services credit unions provide to member-owners and their communities.


  • Offered professional networking opportunities for Activists and Young Professionals at the State and CUNA GAC and with the Ohio League at this year’s Hike the Hill in D.C.


  • Expanded access to advocacy events through scholarships.


  • Utilized social media to share and respond to action alerts easily and quickly.


"The credit union world is complex. So is government," said Tom Liebe, The League’s VP of Government Affairs. "From existing compliance burdens to new rules and regulations, the government plays a massive role in how your credit union operates minute-to-minute and how you’re ultimately able to meet all of your members’ needs. Those complexities can be made better or worse depending on our level of engagement and the presentation of our unified voice. Few things can or ever will be as important to your credit union as your involvement in government relations."


Watch League News for more about what we have accomplished together in 2011 as a united League. The League's homepage links to all of the articles in our series.