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HCUA Attendees Get Results from Hill Visits

Capitol Hill visits to Congressional delegations wrapped up a full week for 74 staff and volunteers from Kansas and Missouri credit unions at the Credit Union National Association Governmental Affairs Conference. Meetings took place in every U.S. Senator and Representative’s office representing the two states, with attendees from 22 credit unions participating on February 24-25. 

Along with key credit union issues and concerns, Missouri and Kansas participants helped raise awareness about a new “Dear Colleague” letter, asking members of Congress to sign on to a letter urging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to utilize its exemption authority for credit unions and smaller community banks. The letter started circulating the week of GAC, and attendees highlighted the letter during their meetings. So far, several lawmakers have signed onto the letter. This includes:

  • U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-District 1 – Kansas)
  • U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-District 2 – Kansas)
  • U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner (R-District 2 – Missouri)
  • U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-District 3 – Missouri)
  • U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-District 4 – Missouri)Hartzler (R-District 4 – Missouri)
  • U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-District 4 – Kansas)
  • U.S. Rep. Sam Graves (R-District 6 – Missouri)

“We were able to engage with the lawmakers on something that was just happening, and provide our perspective why this would be helpful to constituents back home in the district,” says Randy Yeck, Vantage Credit Union (St. Louis, MO). 

There were a significant number of first-time attendees from both states, including credit union staff and volunteers. In many meetings, these attendees received recognition and special welcomes from the staff and lawmakers.

Ashley Scroggins, West Community Credit Union (O'Fallon, MO), was a first time attendee and GAC Crasher. “It was a privilege to engage with credit union professionals from all over the country and meet with our representatives to lobby about the issues that affect our membership,” says Scroggins. “The constant inspiration of ‘why” credit unions are different is so rewarding. I look forward to continuing the advocacy efforts at home.”

“The conference and hiking the Hill was a great experience,” says Jeremy Stauffacher, Heartland Credit Union (Hutchinson, KS). “It gives us a platform to unite and speak out, providing personal accounts of the effects lawmakers have on our members and credit unions. I would recommend the GAC to an individual brand new to politics, to the most educated in the area."

Jason Carlson, Meritrust Credit Union (Wichita, KS), attended as a GAC Crasher this year. “As a frontline staff member, I had several stories that I could share with lawmakers showing how rules and laws affect our members – their constituents. This experience really rejuvenated my zeal for credit unions. I felt that I had all the tools  that I needed to share the credit union difference after attending the GAC." 

HCUA’s legislative packet covered the wide variety of bills and issues facing credit unions –the importance of the credit union tax status, data security concerns, growing regulatory burden and the impact on credit union's ability to serve members, member business lending, supplemental capital and parity bills for credit unions. View the federal legislative issues shared with lawmakers. 

CFPB Meeting

In addition to Hill visits, 15 attendees took part in a February 24 luncheon with representatives from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) who are focusing on overdraft protection programs.  The Heartland Credit Union Association coordinated with the Ohio Credit Union League to participate, which allowed attendees to explain how this service affects their members and hear directly from the agency.

“So many of the comments you have in front of you from Ohio credit union members describing  how they use overdraft protection in times of emergency, and that it is something they want access to – those are the same comments I hear every day at my credit union in Kansas,” pointed out Darrin DePriest, Wheat State Credit Union.

The next time HCUA attendees will Hike the Hill takes place June 14-16.

Read our previous CUNA GAC article for more info and a complete list of participating credit unions.