Over 300 Credit Union Activists from across the state representing 46 Wisconsin credit unions (including a number of high school students from in-school branches) braved the January cold to share The Credit Union Difference with their legislators at the State Government Affairs Conference (GAC) in Madison on Tuesday, January 21.
After being briefed and receiving copies of the REAL Solutions® video scorecard to illustrate what sets credit unions apart from other financial institutions, Activists made their way to the Capitol, where 129 meetings were held with legislators and their staff. In the meetings, they explained how the structure of credit unions allows them to put members and the communities they serve first, providing numerous examples of the ways they put people before profit on a daily basis.
In addition, Activists asked lawmakers to consider the following items:
- Support AB 481/SB 429, empowering credit unions to better prevent or alert others to potential elder abuse
- Reign in payday lenders’ ability to charge usurious loan interest rates (LRB 1179/1)
- Support protecting and enhancing Wisconsin credit unions’ ability to fulfill their core mission – serving members
Activists found that many legislators were members of a credit union, and that a few were once employees of credit unions. A number of staffers also commented that the visits were eye-opening, having not known much about credit unions or the difference between credit unions and other financial institutions beforehand.
Following the meetings, Activists heard two presentations on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion:
- Victor Miguel Corro with Coopera made the business case for serving the Hispanic Community in Wisconsin, pointing to rapidly shifting demographics and a yet-untapped customer base
- Paul Dionne with Filene made the Cooperative Principles case for diversity, equity, and inclusion in financial services, providing an overview of a domestic violence recovery loan program
In closing, the Wisconsin DFI Secretary Kathy Blumenfeld shared a few remarks, including thanking attendees for their continued commitment to serving their members.
As always, we thank our generous State GAC event sponsors, CUNA Mutual Group, FHLB Chicago, Corporate Central Credit Union, and La Macchia Group. We also thank all who attended and all who participated in the prior night’s WCULAF Music Trivia Fundraiser festivities, which raised nearly $4,000 (and where a tie-breaking dance-off *may* have occurred)!
See more highlights by heading over to our Facebook page’s State GAC photo album.