New York credit union advocates wrapped up the 2019 State Governmental Affairs Conference in Albany yesterday with a full day of legislative visits. The conference was held April 29-30, and it featured appearances from several key lawmakers and regulators.
For young professionals and volunteers, the conference began Sunday evening with a networking event in Albany.
The following day, the young professionals group attended a special session that included a legislative panel discussion and guest speakers, including: Chris Pajak, New York Credit Union Association director of member relations; Michael Mattone, VP of marketing and public relations at Hudson River Financial FCU, who discussed the topic ho employees can bring more value to their credit union; and Kris Muller, senior portfolio manager at Balance Sheet Solutions, who discussed the latest financial services topics.
The track also included information on what attendees should expect at this year’s State GAC.
The general conference began Monday afternoon with welcome remarks by Association President/CEO William J. Mellin.
Following the opening remarks, former Gov. George Pataki took the podium to thank credit unions for their longtime commitment to community service. Pataki focused on the current state of New York and federal politics, and discussed the lack of bipartisanship between the two parties in the Legislature and Congress.
Pataki was followed by Association SVP/General Counsel Henry Meier who presented a session on the topic of marijuana banking. Meier discussed where the state stands on the legalization debate and why it matters to credit unions. The presentation also focused on the differences between the state and federal regulations, including legalities and issues that financial institutions may come across when dealing with pot banking.
Kendra Rubin, Association VP of governmental, then took the stage to provide a legislative briefing. The session helped prepare attendees for meetings with lawmakers the following day. Notably, Rubin highlighted legislation that attendees would ask lawmakers to support during their meetings on Tuesday.
Following the educational component of the conference, advocates had the chance to network with a number of state lawmakers from throughout New York at the legislative reception.
“I was pleasantly surprised by how many Assembly members and staffers stopped by for our legislative reception,” said attendee Torii Brawdy, marketing and community relations manager at Western New York FCU. “It was a really unique event, being able to network with other credit union professionals, but also having the opportunity to discuss our legislative priorities in a comfortable setting with members of the Assembly and Senate.”
The second day of the conference included a full day of lobbying and legislative visits with members of the Assembly and Senate. During the productive visits, the advocates asked the lawmakers to support legislation that would grant credit unions access to municipal and state deposits, the Banking Development Districts Program and the Excelsior Linked Deposit Program.
“The 2019 State GAC was a highly productive and informative conference,” said Mellin. “During the visits, the advocates had effective discussions with lawmakers on important credit union legislation that will help credit unions and members across the state. These meetings have a big impact on our advocacy efforts, and I would like to thank all those who participated in this important conference.”
Pictures from the 2019 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.