User login

Advocates Highlight Credit Union Difference at HCUA Missouri Advocacy Meeting

The Missouri Advocacy Meeting brought credit union leaders from across the state to Jefferson City at an unusual time, with the Missouri Senate engaging in a multi-day filibuster that gained national attention. 

Even with senators occupied, credit union advocates met and shared the credit union difference with dozens of lawmakers and staff during the Heartland Credit Union Association (HCUA) legislative reception and dinner on March 7, and Capitol visits on March 8. 

A highlight of the Missouri Advocacy Meeting was an unscheduled visit by U.S. Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-District 3), who addressed regulatory relief issues on the federal level and answered questions from attendees during the legislative reception on March 7. Luetkemeyer recently signed a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) from Congress, encouraging them to use their exemption authority for financial institutions like credit unions.

“The CFPB has the exemption authority, and it needs to be used for credit unions and other financial institutions that did not cause the problems in the first place,” said Luetkemeyer, who serves on the U.S. House Financial Services Committee.

Nearly 60 lawmakers and staff attended the reception and dinner. In advance of legislative visits, HCUA hosted an afternoon of presentations from political and advocacy experts on March 7. 

"The Missouri Advocacy Meeting provides credit union staff, board members and volunteers with the opportunity to gain valuable information about bills that are being presented in the Missouri House and Senate," says Kay Lucas, president of Horizon Credit Union (Macon, MO). "With this information, we can confidently speak to our representatives and educate them about the challenges that credit unions face. The event also gives us the opportunity to meet with them one-on-one and thank them for their support. I feel that it is so important to get involved and fight for credit unions to make them better for our members."

Publisher of The Missouri Times and host of "This Week in Missouri Politics," Scott Faughn started off the event. He gave an overview of Missouri politics and the races ahead, the importance of state level advocacy efforts and shared advice for meeting with lawmakers. “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing strategically,” says Faughn. 

He stressed the importance of evaluating past advocacy efforts and going beyond Jefferson City to interact with lawmakers.

“You have done a good job as an association with outreach and focus on grassroots. But you need to invite lawmakers to your credit unions and have them meet with you in the district. They need to know you are people they can count on back home as a resource,” emphasized Faughn.

Ryan Donovan, of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), was up next. He addressed the federal perspective on legislative and regulatory issues and how CUNA’s advocacy team is working to remove barriers for credit unions.

“We want to give every credit union the opportunity to more fully serve their members,” says Donovan.

Donovan also thanked Dennis Pierce, former president of CommunityAmerica Credit Union (Kansas City, MO) for his time on the CUNA Board of Directors and years of service to credit unions.

Members of HCUA’s advocacy team – including David Kent, Amy McLard and Mike Winter - addressed state-level issues impacting credit unions and briefed attendees on issues to discuss with lawmakers during the reception and office visits.

HCUA’s 2016 legislative priorities in Missouri include a credit union account verification parity bill, the Missouri Savings Promotion Act, a transportation network company (TNC) bill, and Department of Revenue Technology Fund. View HCUA’s latest Missouri state legislation tracker.

Attendees from 27 credit unions participated in the Missouri Advocacy Meeting. This included a strong showing of young professionals from several credit unions, including Central Missouri Community Credit Union (Warrensburg, MO) and West Community Credit Union (O’Fallon, MO), and several participants in the CUlead program. CUlead is a program aimed at building and enhancing credit union management staffs’ leadership abilities to further the credit union and cooperative movements.

CUlead participant, Shana Jahnke shared how this was the first advocacy event that she had attended. Jahnke is the vice president of branch operations for Community Financial Credit Union (Springfield, MO). 

“I often get caught up in the day-to-day operations of the credit union, so I haven’t had much time to think about advocacy or talking to lawmakers,” says Jahnke. “However, after the Missouri Advocacy Meeting, I truly understand the importance of advocating for the credit union movement and ensuring our voice being is heard.”

The Missouri Advocacy Meeting wrapped up with a breakfast at the Capitol, followed by introductions on the Missouri House floor and visits to legislative offices. 

Stephanie Robinson, marketing manager for Central Missouri Community Credit Union (Warrensburg, MO), explained how attending the sessions and meetings changed how she views what lawmakers do day in and day out.

“There’s no way to really grasp the concept of how our state passes laws unless you get to experience it up close and personal,” says Robinson.

While the Missouri Advocacy Meeting is over, opportunities to interact with lawmakers continue. Contact David Kent, HCUA Director of State Legislative Affairs for Missouri, to schedule your own visit to Jefferson City or learn about local events.

“You can take your efforts here in Jefferson City and build on them at home,” says Kent. “That will go a long way in helping your credit union, your members, and the credit union movement overall.”

View more pictures on HCUA's Facebook page

Caption (top): Missouri Advocacy Meeting attendees gather on the steps of the Missouri Capitol for a group picture. 

Caption (second from top): U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-District 3) speaks with credit union advocates at the legislative reception. 

Caption (middle): Pictured are Amy McLard of HCUA, State Rep. Tony Dugger (R-District 144), State Rep. Sandy Crawford (R-District 129), Tracey Hannah and Dennis Pierce, both of CommunityAmerica Credit Union. 

Caption (second from bottom): Pictured are (back row, from left) Amy Pendleton of Riverways Federal Credit Union, John Beverlin Sr. of Mainstreet Credit Union and Brian Eyestone of Members 1st Credit Union with State Representatives (front row, from left) Michael Butler (D-District 79), Joe Adams (D-District 86), DaRon McGee (D-District 36), Jon Carpenter (D-District 15), and Ben Harris (D-District 118).

Caption (bottom): West Community staffers strike a pose with Tigers Credit Union mascot,Tigersquirrel, and State Rep. Kurt Bahr (R-District 102). Pictured are (from left) Barry Jones, Sarah Rehkop, Danielle Buscher, Rep. Bahr, Jason Peach, Rachael McCarthy, and Lori Hudson.