Make NAFCU’s Congressional Caucus a part of your routine

If you’re like me, you enjoy daily routines. My morning routine centers me and gets me ready for the day ahead. For years, I’ve woken up and sat with a cup of coffee and the latest news from NAFCU. I feel it’s the best way I can prepare for the day: by learning about what in Washington is affecting my industry, then coming to work armed with that knowledge.

It’s easy to ignore what might be happening elsewhere when you’re preoccupied with your corner of the world. In my years as CEO of Big Valley Federal Credit Union, I’ve noticed that many other CEOs I’ve met – particularly from small or mid-sized credit unions – aren’t actively engaged with the political process. It can feel like a waste of time to get hung up on the goings-on in Congress and at the regulatory agencies, especially when you feel like you can’t make a difference. If you’re sitting in your office far away from Washington – like I am, in Sacramento, Calif. – you might think, “What can I do from way over here?”

Well, you can do a lot. If you follow NAFCU Today, you know that there are always opportunities to send in your thoughts about proposed rules from NCUA and CFPB, or legislation that’s been introduced in Congress. Your opinion really does matter, and if you think something will have a negative effect on your credit union, you can be sure you’re not the only one. Lawmakers acknowledge they’re not experts on every single issue, so when they start legislating issues – like overly burdensome NCUA regulations – that affect credit unions, you should have a say in the matter. After all, it’s your and my credit unions’ personal stories that educate lawmakers about how legislation can help or harm us. We have strength in numbers, and even just a quick e-mail, or a few minutes to respond to the Economic & CU Monitor survey, can make a big difference.

But you don’t have to stay in your office – at least not all the time! Sometimes it’s good to have a change of scenery, and seeing things from a different perspective can have a lasting effect. My daily life is a far cry from the atmosphere in Washington. Attending NAFCU’s yearly Congressional Caucus allows credit unions to effectively discuss issues with legislators through taking part in the visits to Capitol Hill, and has shown me how complex the process of lawmaking can be. Which is exactly why it’s essential, as credit union leaders, to provide our expertise to members of Congress. Our power to really make a difference lies in showing up and speaking out to make credit unions’ concerns known.

No credit union wants to be caught off-guard by a law or rule that hurts our ability to serve our members. By staying informed and staying active, we can help prevent a lot of hurt for the industry. NAFCU helps keep us in the loop all year long, and Congressional Caucus gives us the opportunity to show up in person and speak our piece. I’ve seen the positive impression that showing up in numbers can make on lawmakers – and that makes me want to do it again and again.

Linda Sweet

Linda Sweet

Linda Sweet is President and CEO of Big Valley Federal Credit Union in Sacramento, Calif. NAFCU’s Congressional Caucus is scheduled for Sept. 9-12 at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel in ... Web: Details