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Missouri Makes First Hike the Hill of 2012

Missouri credit union leaders visited with federal lawmakers as part of the first credit union Hike the Hill of 2012 in Washington, D.C.   The event began with a visit with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on January 17 and included visits to Capitol Hill on January 18 and 19.    Click here for more details and photos of the CFPB meeting.

Attendees from five Missouri credit unions across the state visited with staff in each Congressional office, and were able to meet with many lawmakers in person, including:

  • U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-District 1)
  • U.S. Rep. Todd Akin (R-District 2)
  • U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-District 3)
  • U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-District 4)
  • U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-District 5)
  • U.S. Rep. Billy Long (R-District 7)

“After having been to Washington, DC several times, the legislators begin to recognize you as a familiar face,” says Laura Alfeldt, First Community Credit Union (Chesterfield) vice president of marketing.  “It makes it a much more meaningful way to share the importance of our members' issues.  I would encourage others to take part in Hike the Hill.”

By visiting in January, Missouri credit union representatives put credit union concerns at the forefront with lawmakers as they began a new legislative session.  Member business lending (MBL) was the primary topic with the Missouri delegation, and lawmakers were encouraged to support lifting the credit union MBL cap from 12.25% to 27.5% of assets.   S. 509 and H.R. 1418, the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act, address this issue. 

“Our members are coming to us, asking for business loans, and we really want to be able to provide that to them,” explained Phyllis Domann, volunteer board member for Central Missouri Community Credit Union (Warrensburg), during meetings with legislators.  “But with the limit in place, our board calculated that we could only do about 40 business loans before we would have to turn people away.  Increasing the cap would allow us to help these people.”

Currently, U.S. Reps. Clay, Akin and Carnahan have cosponsored H.R. 1418.

“I think the work we did this week really helps reinforce the differences between credit unions and banks to our lawmakers,” says Frank Nelson, 1st Financial Federal Credit Union (Wentzville) president/CEO.  “It is exciting to be the start of credit union legislative visits in 2012 and I know that our counterparts across the country will continue the work we did this week in furthering the goals of the credit union industry.”

In addition to Alfeldt, Domann, and Nelson, credit union participants in Missouri’s Hike the Hill included:

  • Dennis Pierce, CEO, CommunityAmerica Credit Union (Kansas City)
  • Steve Pierson, president/CEO, BluCurrent Credit Union (Springfield)
  • Carol White, president/CEO, Central Missouri Community (Warrensburg)