Last week, the 2023 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) was held in Washington, D.C. This conference is the credit union industry’s premier event bringing together leaders from across the movement to rally around a united case—to tell policymakers how their lawmaking affects credit unions and their more than 130 million members.
During this conference each year, credit unions representatives hear from world-class speakers from business and politics, share the credit union difference with lawmakers on Hill Hikes, learn about innovative credit union solutions in the exhibit hall and grow their network to further the credit union movement.
On Tuesday, approximately 35 credit union representatives went through two security checkpoints to the Senate side of the Capitol Visitor Center, where they hunkered down for a four-hour marathon of discussions with elected representatives.
There, they were able to meet with Utah Congressmen Chris Stewart, John Curtis, Burgess Owens, as well as, Utah Senators Mike Lee and Mitt Romney.
While Congressman Blake Moore was unable to meet with the credit union contingency during the day, following the committee meeting he invited credit union representatives to meet with him briefly in the Ways and Means committee room.
During chats with both senators and three representatives, many commented on the quality of the visits and great relationship with the Utah Credit Union Association.
Representatives noted that how discussions were held added credibility and favor to credit unions and the Association and its representatives. Several of them also acknowledged how credit unions are financial first responders for their members and to continue forward with the great work.
Among the issues raised with the elected officials were: legislation allowing federal credit union boards to meet as few as six times a year; interchange structure; CFPB efforts to fight what they unfairly call “junk fees”; loans to veterans being exempted from member business lending caps; data privacy; and, of course, the credit union tax exemption.
The following morning, at a fundraiser commemorating the historic diversity of the current republican caucus, the Association and a few credit union representatives were able to meet with Rep. Owens, along with another dozen representatives from other states, and many more credit union delegates from all over the country.
While those meetings were on the visible side of the GAC, association staff also had the opportunity to meet with many staff members of the elected representatives at other times, in quieter settings.
Attending the yearly GAC is vital in our efforts to Improve the statutory and regulatory environment for credit unions and is an excellent opportunity for credit unions to continue to build their relationships with Utah’s federal delegation and advance the original consumer advocate industry: credit unions.