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...because of support from CUNA

 

Seventh in a series about the value of League membership

 

League & CUNA affiliation are a powerful support system for credit unions

 

League-member credit unions receive more than just state-level support for their dues dollar; they’re supported by CUNA, one of the strongest voices in Madison and Washington, D.C. And that really matters when it comes to advancing credit unions’ political interests, strengthening credit unions’ voice in regulatory advocacy and achieving greater visibility among consumers.

 

In 2011, for example, CUNA’s efforts helped:

 

  • Advance credit unions’ political interests


  • A strategy of low-key but intense vigilance on Capitol Hill ensured credit unions’ federal tax exemption was not targeted at a time of intense focus in Washington on the debt and taxes.

 

  • Aggressive support for credit union-friendly candidates through CULAC (national PAC) contributions, partisan communications, and related tactics achieved an 86% success rate during the last election cycle. This support helped defeat five of seven challengers to CU-friendly lawmakers in office, and helped win seats for 9 CU-friendly candidates out of 13 using direct political involvement.

 

  • The push for legislation to increase credit union member business lending made significant strides, including support from a wider circle of key coalition groups, the Treasury and NCUA, and gaining hearings in both the House and Senate.  The House and Senate bills now have more than 130 backers in Congress.

 

  • The credit union perspective – for the first time ever – was front and center in a hearing on a bill relating only to banks. In fact, CUNA testified before Congress nine times on issues related to business lending, implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act, interchange fees, housing finance reform, and regulatory burden. CUNA President & CEO Bill Cheney was recognized by The Hill newspaper as one of the most powerful association lobbyists on Capitol Hill.

 

  • Strengthen credit unions’ voice on regulatory issues

 

  • CUNA’s efforts – along with The League and local Activists - helped secure an exemption on the interchange fee cap for credit unions below $10 billion in assets and significantly improved Federal Reserve’s implementing regulations over what had been initially proposed.

 

  • Countless meetings took place with regulators to champion credit union concerns. CUNA did the same in more than 70 comments letters to 16 different regulatory agencies including NCUA, FTC, FinCen, Treasury, SEC, FHFA and the Federal Reserve Board.

 

  • CUNA has been in regular communication with staff of the new federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to ensure the agency understands credit unions, that credit unions’ pro-consumer efforts are recognized and that the regulatory burdens of agency decisions are minimized.

 

  • Throughout the year, CUNA continued to interpret the complexities of the Corporate Stabilization program and worked with The League to share information to help credit unions manage their bottom lines.

 

  • Achieve greater visibility among consumers

 

  • CUNA worked with leagues to leverage "Bank Transfer Day" and other publicity stemming from consumer anger over sky-high bank fees. Hundreds of pro-credit union stories were carried by some of the biggest national news outlets: the New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post and many more in Wisconsin and elsewhere.

 

  • Since last spring, CUNA also helped The League engage credit unions in managing their own information on a new, premier CU-finder website, www.aSmarterChoice.org.  Cited in many Bank Transfer Day-related media stories, aSmarterChoice.org experienced record traffic from consumers looking to join credit unions.

 

  • Perhaps most important: CUNA works closely with The League to provide data used throughout our state’s REAL Solutions Scorecard to showcase for lawmakers, media and others the tremendous value of credit unions. This report makes the case for credit unions’ continued corporate tax exemption, illustrates how credit unions fulfill their social responsibility without additional costly regulations or mandates and helps keep Wisconsin credit unions exempt from payday lending legislation.

 

Take a look at even more of CUNA’s achievements this year as well as CUNA’s long-term record advocating on credit union issues.

You can read more about how The League supports and advocates for credit unions as part of a series of articles called Membership Matters, all posted on The League’s home page.