News & Information

Activists have ramped up their advocacy

by Christine Henzig, Director of Communications Feb 13, 2018

Hover over the pictures for their captions

Activists engaged with Congressman Sean Duffy at a Housing Reform Roundtable

Activists from Wisconsin credit unions are ensuring lawmakers know the value of credit unions in the local community and the state as a whole.

Recently, Activists have:

Provided Insights to shape statewide advocacy asks

  • Representatives from credit unions around the state are sharing their views with The League as part of open Comment Calls on new and/or changing regulations (add your voice!). They also responded to The League's fall survey which helps provide content for The League's annual Scorecard, illustrating credit unions' strong history serving Wisconsin communities.

Spoke up for the Movement and their members

  • Activist Kim Sponem of Summit Credit Union testified in Washington, D.C. on the costly, ongoing problem of data breaches. She was the sole witness from a financial institution who spoke on behalf of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).

Activists (L to R) Jim Wynn of WESTconsin CU, Derek Freis of Simplicity CU and Adam Newman of Landmark CU testified on OCU's proposed state MBL rule revisions

  • Activists (right) from WESTconsin, Simplicity and Landmark Credit Unions testified in person, in support of the Office of Credit Unions' (OCU's) proposed update to the state's member business lending rule. More than 20 Activists registered their support during the public hearing. Over several weeks more than 190 comment letters were submitted, in addition to a letter submitted by The League on behalf of all Wisconsin credit unions. 

  • Activists from Landmark, Empower, Summit and Premier Financial Credit Unions participated in a Housing Reform Roundtable (pictured at top) with Congressman Sean Duffy (R-Wausau), hosted by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago. The Congressman chairs the Housing and Insurance Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee, making him a critical player in housing finance reform. Discussion addressed CU priorities for reform as well as over-regulation by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).Pat Wesenberg (top R) testified before a state Assembly committee 

  • Activists from Summit and Royal Credit Union took part in two ceremonies in which Governor Walker signed CU-backed bills into law.
  • Activists from Taylor, Royal and CoVantage Credit Unions served on a panel as part of a conference hosted by the Department of Public Instruction. They shared with school district officials statewide the ways in which the Movement provides and enhances financial education, highlighting (among other things) in-school branches and reality fairs.

  • Simplicity Credit Union's President Pat Wesenberg (right) testified in support of a bill which would allow the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago to obtain the exam findings of their Wisconsin state-chartered member credit unions. The bill passed the Senate and Assembly Committees and awaits a full vote in each house. 

  • Oakdale Credit Union's President Colleen Woggon (below, right) testified at a public hearing held by a Senate Committee as part of her reappointment to the state's Credit Union Review Board, which considers Wisconsin credit unions' state regulatory or exam issues.

    Oakdale CU President Colleen Woggon testified as part of her reappointment to the Credit Union Review Board
  • Summit Credit Union's Jason Herlitzke took part in a roundtable discussion with the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB's) request for information concerning the small business lending market. Summit became the first financial institution in the United States to sue Equifax as a result of its massive data breach last year. The credit union frequently uses its website to engage its members on advocacy issues.

Built relationships at League- and CUNA-hosted advocacy events

Activists helped raise $9,000 as part of a pre-GAC Trivia Night
  • 800 pairings of Activists and policymakers ensured legislative offices  heard from constituents and credit unions they represent at the State Government Affairs Conference (GAC). Activists shared their REAL Solutions® stories with members - as well as The League's latest Scorecard, which highlights credit unions' strong history serving Wisconsin communities.

  • Activists (right) raised $9,000 for credit union state-level advocacy at a fun-filled night of trivia to kick off state GAC activities. The event was organized by League Government Affairs Committee Chair Val Mindak of Park City Credit Union, and members Steve Nothem of Premier Financial Credit Union, Colleen Woggon of Oakdale Credit Union and Michele Lehmann of St. Mary's & Affiliates Credit Union.

  • Nearly 50 Activists, including Southern Lakes Credit Union's President & CEO Tim Barthel, who won a small credit union scholarship from CUNA, will attend the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference.

Engaged with policymakers locallyRep. Evan Goyke (right) chats with Summit CU Chief Lending Officer Mark Kennedy at a Chapter legislative night

  • The Cream City Chapter of Credit Unions hosted State Reps. Daniel Riemer (D-Milwaukee) and Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee) at a legislative night to tout credit unions' statewide REAL Solutions®, financial education efforts and more. Both lawmakers cited their support for CU-backed legislation and thanked credit unions for being valued resources for their members and communities. They stayed late to chat (right).

  • Royal Credit Union brought an in-school branch employee with them to the State GAC as part of their advocacy internship pilot program with Eau Claire Memorial High School. They also hosted a visit of Governor Scott Walker to Royal's Eau Claire North High School branch, one of the credit union's 28 in-school branches, as part of the district's apprenticeship program. The students thanked the Governor for signing a bill into law requiring personal finance curriculum for K-12 students. 

  • Sheboygan Area Credit Union met hosted a visit from Congressman Glenn Grothman (R-Glenbeulah), sharing REAL Solutions® stories, thanking him, and highlighting how his support helps their members. 

    Rep. Scott Allen (center, grey jacket) visited with staff of Summit CU
  • Summit Credit Union provided a tour for Rep. Scott Allen (R-Waukesha, right) so that they could share their history, impact on members and the community, and thank him for backing credit union-supported legislation. At a celebratory breakfast held for Summit Activists, State Senator Mark Miller (D-Monona) was on hand to deepen relationships.
  • Taylor Credit Union hosted a visit with Rep. Jimmy Edming (R-Glen Flora) to show him how a student employee with special needs is thriving - and how they are helping the community - as part of Take Your Legislator to Work Day

  • UW Credit Union invited Congressman Mark Pocan (D-Vermont) to the credit union to continue relationship-building. They used the meeting to highlight their history, values, and UW affiliation, and spoke about the recent living wage increase, new checking products to serve underserved markets, student lending and their first high school branch.

Stepped into the ring​ personally

  • Governor Walker mugs with students at the RCU youth branchGlacier Hills Credit Union's former President & CEO Dennis Degenhardt ran as a Democrat for the 58th Assembly District. Although not successful in the heavily republican district, electing Activists to office would be a positive development in ensuring the Movement's interests are represented! 

Governor Walker visited an in-school branch of Royal Credit Union

The League and CUNA engage with credit union Activists in a CUNA 360 Degree Advocacy approach that helps credit unions influence the continuous decision-making process by policymakers that affects their operations. Read more about our Advocacy success.