by: Randy Smith, Publisher/Managing Editor, CUinsight.com
Another CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference has come and gone. I wanted to put out a recap of some memorable experiences for me at GAC’12 and ask a few questions. I will start with that the staff at CUNA put on one outstanding event and the people of the credit union community are inspiring to be around and I feel very fortunate to be a part of it.
Right from the welcome of new attendees to the opening session you could feel the energy that has continued from Bank Transfer Day. Credit unions are growing in popularity and not only member satisfaction but in the overall opinion of the general public. I’m sure we’ve all had more people in our communities asking us about credit unions and looking for information then ever before. The national branding campaign we all talked about for years is here. Now how do we continue the momentum?
Another topic throughout GAC was member business lending. Senator Mark Udall has continued to be a champion for credit unions. He put the responsibility on all of us to continue this fight for his Small Business Lending Enhancement Act. Sen. Udall had a post GAC article in the Huffington Post: David v. Goliath yesterday. He is asking all of us to not only add our names to the petition to help convince our representatives but have our members as well. Have you added your name to the petition yet?
For me one of the great things about GAC is the opportunity to have so many people in the credit union community in one place. To have the opportunity to see again or meet people for the first time I interact with everyday on the phone or through email and social media is a pleasure. The relationships formed are inspiring and the ideas that flow are beneficial for all of us to further the credit union movement.
A couple examples this year were meeting and getting to spend time with Kristen Christian, founder of Bank Transfer Day. I was interested in learning more about the woman who started this incredible movement and where she plans to go from here to promote credit unions. I also was inspired by the work the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions is doing. Some of my own misconceptions were cleared up like thinking CDCU’s were all small credit unions when in the breakout we heard from billion dollar CDCUs. If you don’t know the work the Federation is doing it is worth checking out.
GAC ends with the credit union community packing the halls of Congress. Each of the 535 House and Senate members were met by the nearly 4000 credit union advocates from their respective states to hear issues effecting the credit union community. The issues ranged from supporting an increase in MBL cap to regulatory burdens on CUs and the need for access to supplemental capital. Trey Hawkins, CUNA VP of Political Affairs, sent the CU community home with advice on how we can all engage our members and communities to help elect representatives that will be advocates for credit union issues.
We have a LinkedIn discussion going on what was your favorite part of GAC12? And also which speaker or breakout did you enjoy the most? Stop by and join the discussion. I would love to hear about your experience.
I always leave GAC invigorated and wanting to do more (and physically exhausted). This year I am also full of questions. With the momentum the credit union movement has, how do we continue and maximize it? How many of us have stopped to take another look at what truly differentiates us from other options in our communities? Is your CUs strategic plan inline to maximize these strengths? Does your CU have a plan? What’s your elevator/airplane speech on the benefits of credit unions?
What a great time to be a part of the credit union community. People are listening and want more. Most people that is, there’s a group with a lot of money that would love to see the wheels fall off this thing. Let’s not let that happen.
Randy Smith is one of the founders and publisher of CUinsight.com, your one stop place for all things credit union. Randy has spent over 15 years in the financial services community. Over the past three years as publisher of CUinsight.com Randy looks for new and innovative ways to spread the credit union message and keep the community informed. Randy works closely with individual credit unions, leagues and associations on a variety of topics including media relations, business development, marketing and strategic plans to get new ideas off the ground. Put simply, Randy likes to create and foster new ideas and watch them grow. Randy has been cited and written for many publications and speaks at industry events to further the growth of the credit union movement. www.cuinsight.com