Lawmakers hear credit union message at 2018 State GAC

Credit union advocates in front of the state Capitol.

New York credit union advocates wrapped up the 2018 State Governmental Affairs Conference in Albany yesterday with a full day of legislative visits. The conference was held April 23-24, and it featured appearances from several key lawmakers and regulators.

For young professionals and volunteers, the conference began Monday morning with a designated YP Track. The session included a legislative panel discussion, advocacy and lobbying tips, and a guest speaker—Bill Patton, AVP of lending and participations at Alloya Corporate FCU—discussing the topic “Do You Know Your Competitors?”

The general conference began Monday afternoon with welcome remarks by New York Credit Union Association President/CEO William J. Mellin and VP of Governmental Affairs Michael Lieberman.

Following the opening remarks, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan took the podium to thank credit unions for their longtime commitment to community service. She praised credit unions for strengthening local economies and for serving as vehicles of empowerment for economic advancement. Finally, Sheehan unveiled a document proclaiming April 23 “Credit Union Day” in Albany.

Sheehan was followed by Bob Tackman, senior lending analyst at Empower FCU and mayor of the Village of East Syracuse; and Barbara Van Epps, deputy director of the New York Conference of Mayors. The two highlighted and provided updates on legislation that would allow credit unions to accept deposits from municipalities. Importantly, the Conference of Mayors strongly supports the legislation, and the pair noted that the more favorable rates at credit unions could save localities significant amounts of money.

Shirin Emami, the executive deputy superintendent of the Department of Financial Services’ banking division, then took the stage to share updates on the financial services landscape. Emami discussed a number of changes playing out in the world of financial services, including in the fintech space and with the state credit union charter.

Attendees then heard a legislative and compliance briefing by Lieberman and Association Compliance Director Linda Bow. The session helped prepare attendees for meetings with lawmakers the following day.

The day concluded with a legislative reception, which was attended by a number of state lawmakers from throughout the state, including Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, R-Long Island.

Tuesday’s session began with a taxi medallion discussion, which featured peer-to-peer discussions on the state of the medallion industry and NCUA’s role in the lending downturn.

More than 125 credit union advocates then took to the state Capitol in Albany for a full day of legislative visits. During the visits, the advocates had productive discussions with lawmakers on their legislative priorities, such as legislation dealing with municipal deposits, state deposits, the Banking Development Districts Program, demand note robberies and more.

“The 2018 State GAC was another highly productive and informative conference,” said Mellin. “It was a pleasure to see so many credit union advocates from throughout the state sharing their stories and messages with lawmakers. These meetings have a real impact on our advocacy efforts, and I’d like to thank all those who participated in this important conference.”

Pictures from the 2018 State GAC can be found on the Association’s Facebook page. Additional photos will be added to the album in the days ahead. To share State GAC pictures with the Association, email

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