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2019 League Highlights

Another banner year for The Wisconsin Credit Union League!
Dec 02, 2019
By Sammy Dennis
  • More on The Movement

Drumroll's a snapshot of 6 ways we put your dues dollars to work in 2019!

1. Political & Legislative Advocacy

  • The League offered written support and feedback on a number of bills related to hemp, elder abuse, electronic or remote notarization, rights to data, garnishments, and cashier’s checks.  SB 188/AB 206, regulating hemp and  SB 457/AB 504 were signed into law this year.  With feedback from the Government Affairs Committee, The League submitted a recommendation which was ultimately included in SB 457/ AB 504 by amendment.

  • The League hosted three members of Congress and an NCUA Board Member. Activists had the opportunity to strengthen our working relationship and understanding of the Credit Union Difference with three members of Wisconsin’s Congressional Delegation.  Senator Tammy Baldwin, Congressman Mark Pocan, and Financial Services Committee member Congressman Bryan Steil all spent time at the Credit Union House in Madison. The League additionally hosted a town hall session with new NCUA Board member Todd Harper, where our leaders were able to go straight to the source with their NCUA-related questions.

  • During their summer Conference, the National Conference of State Legislatures considered a proposal to update the Community Reinvestment Act and apply the law to credit unions.  The League was on hand to ensure Wisconsin’s representative on the Committee opposed the proposal, which was ultimately tabled.  In addition to the 70 legislators and staff from Wisconsin present, League staff promoted the credit union difference to legislators from across the country.

  • When the Independent Community Bankers of America asked Congress to ‘Wake Up’ with misleading figures criticizing credit unions, The League was quick to act. Our response not only offered accurate stats about credit unions, but also opened the door to a deeper dive into the Credit Union Difference and the unmatched ways credit unions impact communities.

  • In a new video Scorecard, four stories illustrated the remarkable ways credit unions met the needs of Wisconsin members and communities.  Specifically, the stories touched on a small business loan to farmers, an in-school student-run branch, hosting a Reality Fair, and serving an underserved population. 

  • We secured co-sponsorships and ‘Yes’ votes from members of our Congressional delegation for legislation that provides legal protections to financial institutions serving state-legalized cannabis-based businesses.  Wisconsin Reps. Glenn Grothman, Ron Kind, Gwen Moore, Mark Pocan, and Bryan Steil voted in favor of the bill.  Both Senators Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin shared their support for the bill with Hike the Hill attendees, though a time line for consideration in the Senate has not been set. Additionally, the state Attorney General, Treasurer, DFI Secretary and Governor Tony Evers each signed onto letters asking Congress to pass the bill. 

  • Our ongoing advocacy ensured that the state budget bill - often a secretive and fast-moving process inviting controversial provisions - passed without any proposals that would harm or disadvantage credit unions.

2. Regulatory Advocacy

  • The League submitted 11 comment letters to federal regulators in 2019 to emphasize the impact various regulatory changes would have on Wisconsin's credit union operations

  • The League filed a "friend of the court" (amicus curiae) brief in a notice of right to cure case before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and another amicus brief jointly with CUNA in an important ADA website lawsuit. The outcomes were favorable in both cases. 

3. Compliance 

  • The ii Release updates addressed many changes to TRID, appraisal rules, and other issues, as well as three new releases on credit union training, money service businesses, and payday lending

  • Two compliance roundtables tackled reporting financial abuse, organization accounts, and more.

  • Compliance Couriers addressed issues as diverse as new bond requirements and serving hemp businesses.

4. Education

  • The League’s annual Convention & Expo, our premier event, was attended by more than 550 participants from across the state participated in four days of learning, networking, and focusing on issues affecting credit unions.

  • The League’s Roundtables facilitated discussion & strategy. Our Bankruptcy Seminar and Collections, Compliance and Lending Roundtables shared important operational and regulatory guidance and enabled peer sharing. Roundtables for CEOs of small-, mid-size- and large credit unions helped executives network and address issues affecting their credit unions’ strategies for service and growth. The Community Development Workshop offered financial resources and guidance to improve outreach to financially underserved communities and key demographic groups. A sell-out ULEND Academy--offering strategies from CUNA Mutual Group--taught consultative lending.

  • The League's HR and Business Lending Councils are thriving. The Councils offer credit unions a way to share best practices as well as networking opportunities, resources and relevant training. The Business Lending Council has hosted educational seminars that are free for Council members but open to all in the fall and at Convention, while the HR Council promotes bi-annual webinars and discounted in-person seminars. Both offer a resource library within commUNITY. Membership is billed per credit union, not per person, so it's affordable for credit unions to provide professional development and networking for multiple staff and/or volunteers.

5. Development

  • For the fourth year, the Wisconsin Credit Union Foundation has continued to support FiCEP, the Enhanced Financial Education Certification Program. Over the last four years, more than 240 Wisconsin credit union professionals have completed this program and earned their Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor (CCUFC) designation and are providing valuable financial education and counseling resources to their credit unions and their members. The Wisconsin Credit Union Foundation continues to support this program in the years to come, with the hope that even more students earn their CCUFC designation.

  • Small credit unions in Wisconsin can connect with The League to assist with a variety of operational, accounting, and compliance needs. More than 40 credit unions benefited from one-on-one consulting. Along with ad hoc consulting services, credit unions hire staff from The League to assist them in their annual Strategic Planning Sessions. In 2019, fifteen credit unions hired The League to facilitate with their planning sessions and create achievable goals for the future development of their credit unions.

  • The League's prize-linked savings program Saver's Sweepstakes® is now available at 36 credit unions, with over $2.5 million saved. The prize pool for 2020 will be $120,000.

6. Communications & Marketing

  • Embarked upon major website refresh project

  • Ramped up social media communications

  • Revamped member email communications 

  • Worked with CUNA on development of Open Your Eyes Awareness Campaign in Wisconsin

About The Author

Sammy Dennis is the Director of Communications for The Wisconsin Credit Union League.