More than 40 Wisconsin Activists – including several first-time attendees and seven young professionals (YPs) - traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with lawmakers at The League's annual Hike the Hill event.
Over the two-day event, Wisconsin's federal Representatives and Senators visited the Credit Union House, located just blocks from the U.S. Capitol. Among other topics, the group discussed:
- maintaining the credit union tax exemption in current tax reform efforts;
- regulatory relief, including changes to the structure and authority of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB);
- creating a level playing field between banks and credit unions by re-categorizing loans on one- to four-family, non-owner occupied dwellings as consumer loans and not as member business loans (H.R. 389/S836) ; and
- data breach legislation that aims to Stop the Data Breaches,hold merchants accountable and increase data security requirements.
Activists also shared stories about their REAL Solutions™ efforts to better serve their members through financial education, re-building small town main streets, and serving the underserved.
Wisconsin Senators Visited Credit Union House
Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Madison)
The Senator (standing) a long-time champion of credit union issues, noted the uniqueness of credit unions' advocacy, which is on behalf of member-owners. In light of regulatory reform efforts, she recognized credit unions weren't the bad actors in the financial crisis and that they are unfairly burdened by one-size-fits-all regulation. Activists thanked her for her support of S. 836. The Senator also serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Senator Ron Johnson (R-Oshkosh)
The Senator, center (blue shirt), shared this thoughts on tax reform efforts. His priorities for tax reform would maintain credit unions' corporate income tax exemption. He, too, noted credit unions are over-regulated and joins Senator Baldwin in supporting efforts to provide regulatory relief.
Wisconsin's Congressional Delegation Visited Credit Union House
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Janesville)
Wisconsin credit unions were honored to have Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (gold tie) return to the Credit Union House to meet with the group. He gave Hike attendees a preview of leadership's platform for tax reform, which preserves credit unions' tax status. Our group thanked him for his ongoing support of credit unions, their tax status, and legislation that can help them better serve their member owners. The support of the Speaker is a true testament to the value of relationship building, advocacy and recognition of the Credit Union Difference! The speaker included credit unions in his A Better Way position paper on reducing unnecessary regulation.
Representative Mark Pocan (D-Town of Vermont)
Activists thanked Representative Pocan
(center, gold tie). Congressman Pocan appreciates the importance of credit unions' structure
, as co-founder of the Cooperative Caucus and co-sponsor of pro-credit union legislation HR 389
. He represents the headquarters of CUNA
, CUNA Mutual Group
, the World Council of Credit Unions
, Filene Research Institute
- and a large number of this year's Hike attendees! He also serves on the House Appropriations Committee.
Representative Ron Kind (D-La Crosse)
Hike attendees thanked Congressman Kind (front row) for his support of credit unions' tax status as a member of the House Ways & Means Committee. They also thanked him for his support of HR 389, to define loans for 1-4 unit properties as consumer (not business) loans, making them easier for credit unions to provide them to members. His support also helped preserve funding for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI). The Congressman noted that his support for credit unions stems from the Credit Union Difference.
Representative Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee)
The Congresswoman, (standing) who once helped found a credit union, shared her dedication to allowing credit unions to serve more members and communities. Our relationship with the Congresswoman is key, as she serves on the House Financial Services Committee.
Representative Sean Duffy (R-Wausau)
Congressman Duffy (standing) is a key legislator for credit unions nationwide, as Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance. He encouraged all Activists to share stories about ways that regulation inhibits your credit union's ability to serve members and REAL Solutions stories showing the value of protecting credit unions that put people before profit.
Representative Glenn Grothmann (R-Glenbeulah)
(center, blue shirt) joined the group on the rooftop deck during the rooftop reception. He noted credit unions' importance in the financial services market place - putting people before profit
to meet their members' and communities' needs.
Representative Mike Gallagher (R- Appleton)
Rep. Mike Gallagher (standing, left) used his first visit to Credit Union House to share thoughts on data security efforts. He heard firsthand the negative impact that overregulation has on credit unions' ability to serve members.
Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Menomonee Falls)
Rep. Sensenbrenner (standing) shared his support for legislation that allows credit unions to more easily offer loans to 1-4 unit properties with his co-sponsorship of H.R. 389. This was the first session that the Congressman has signed on - a testament to the value of ongoing advocacy with tenured legislators.
Thank You, Sponsors!
Special thanks to this year's sponsors, whose generosity made this event possible:
See more photos on The Wisconsin Credit Union League Facebook page.
Wisconsin credit unions come together as a single League to Unite for Good; we remove barriers, increase awareness and foster service excellence. All of these steps help more Americans to see credit unions as their best financial partner and regard their credit union as their primary financial institution. Read more articles in our Unite for Good series.