Credit unions' operating environment and ability to serve members is affected by policy-makers and the process by which their actions become the requirements credit unions must follow. Your League and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) are united with credit unions in a 360-degree approach to advocacy that gives the industry a voice at every point in the process. As constituents and Activists, YOU can impact the outcomes.
Engaging in the Process
Activists have multiple entry points to engage, communicate with, and persuade policy-makers.
- Political advocacy - with candidates and campaigns, helps determines who gets elected or rises to higher positions of leadership
- Legislative advocacy - guides elected officials to pass or block laws that affect the industry
- Regulatory advocacy - engages regulators or examiners on the ways in which laws or regulations are enforced (via exams)
- Compliance - requires credit unions to operate within the letter of the law, rule or regulation.
- Communications - allows credit unions to promote their service to members and communities to build better understanding of the Credit Union Difference with policymakers or highlight the ways that certain laws, regulations or compliance processes impede member service.
Why it matters
"The issues policy-makers consider have a direct impact on your institution. For instance, advocating to relieve credit unions' regulatory burden is an effort to prevent the drain on resources, or day-to-day services or practices that become more difficult to offer because of the laws, regulations and decisions of policy-makers." said Sarah Wainscott, League Director of Government Affairs.
"The cost of regulation for Wisconsin credit unions, in 2014 alone was staggering,” she adds, and often causes credit unions to shift resources away from other opportunities such as:
- Enhancing alternative delivery channels
- Building capital
- Staff development
- Offering better deposit or loan rates
- Additional marketing
- Adding new locations
Opportunity at every point
"Lawmakers, regulators, laws and rules change. One thing remains - Activists are the experts on what credit unions do and offer. If we don't engage with the people and on the policies that matter, who will stand up on behalf of our movement?" Wainscott said.
"By persuading policy-makers on the value credit unions provide members and communities, by influencing who is elected, by commenting on proposed or revised regulations - we can improve your ability to serve members," she said.
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.