February 28, 2012
With member business lending (MBL) legislation a primary focus of the upcoming Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC), CUNA is encouraging credit union leaders to invite a local small-business owner to join them for Hill visits March 21-22.
The initiative is working to build on the success of February’s Small-Business Hike the Hill, in which CUNA worked with small-business owners to push legislators on Capitol Hill to approve an MBL cap increase for credit unions. CUNA published a short video following the hike that includes a message from CUNA President Bill Cheney and personal testimony from a small-business owner.
“These small business owners bring vigor and energy to the debate and will help to alter the political battle away from bank vs. credit union, as well as help frame the issue as access to capital for small businesses and not expansion of credit union powers,” Cheney said in an email. “These small-business owners are our best advocates and know first-hand what lack of access to capital can do to them and their communities as they try to grow their business and employ more Americans.”
“The impetus for this last-minute invitation is the great success CUNA had earlier this month during the Small Business Hike the Hill, where credit unions brought small-business members to D.C. to lobby a targeted group of legislators whose support is deemed critical for getting our MBL bill passed,” said Jennifer Wagner, director of legislative advocacy for the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA). “The perspective that small-business owners gave on this issue was very well received by Congress and garnered a great deal of attention.”
CUNA also promoted the connection between credit unions and small business in a series of ads that in Capitol Hill-focused media, including "The Daily Caller" website and newspapers “The Hill,” “Politico” and “Roll Call.”
Scheduled for March 18-22, the CUNA GAC is the premier conference to attend for political impact, credit union networking and up-to-date industry information. This year’s keynote speakers include former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, famous journalistic duo Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, and D.C.’s most trusted voice on political campaigns, Charlie Cook.
More than 4,000 credit union advocates are expected to attend—including more than 200 from the Northwest—with a goal of demonstrating to legislators how the movement’s commitment to members makes credit unions different from other financial institutions. The NWCUA has established a dedicated CUNA GAC webpage, which includes registration information and real-time agenda updates, to serve as a resource for attendees.
Small-business owners do not need to be registered for the GAC, and the Association is available to help arrange accommodations. Northwest credit union leaders interested in bringing a small-business owner to the CUNA GAC are encouraged to contact Wagner at 503.350.2224.
Questions? Contact a member of the Association’s Legislative Affairs team: