A record number of New York attendees were in Washington, D.C., this week for the 2020 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference. Over the course of four days, more than 150 New Yorkers joined thousands of credit union advocates from across the country to hear from diverse speakers, network with their peers, and meet face to face with lawmakers to discuss pressing industry matters.
“Once again, New York’s credit unions were strongly represented at this year’s CUNA GAC, the premier event for credit union advocacy at the federal level,” said New York Credit Union President/CEO William J. Mellin. “The opportunity to network with other credit union leaders from throughout the state and nation is invaluable in furthering the mission of the credit union movement. And I cannot understate the impact that credit union employees and volunteers can have on lawmakers and the law-making process when they connect on a personal level and share unique stories about their lawmaker’s district.”
The conference kicked off for New York advocates on Sunday when the Association hosted a “Let’s Connect New York” reception, where New York attendees had the opportunity to network with credit union leaders from throughout the state.
The general session kicked off on Monday morning with Mellin and Association Board Chair Ann Hynes, president/CEO of SPX FCU, carrying the state’s flag during the opening ceremonies.
Following the opening ceremonies, CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle took the stage to offer his opening remarks and insights. Nussle’s entire speech is available on CUNA’s Facebook page.
This year’s event included a diverse lineup of speakers, including Nikki Haley, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and former governor of South Carolina; Marcus Buckingham, a best-selling author and advisor to employers; David Plouffe, considered the architect of President Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns; Platon, an award-winning photographer and founder of The People’s Portfolio; Stephanie Cutter, considered one of the most prominent voices in the Democratic party and a top strategist and crisis manager by Politico; and Nicolle Wallace, a political analyst, New York Times best-selling author and a long-time strategist for the GOP.
New York attendees began their advocacy efforts in earnest on Tuesday, when they met with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who expressed his support of the New York credit union movement, saying, “I love the credit unions,” and declaring: “They’ll change your tax-exempt status over my dead body.”
New York credit union advocates took their message to federal lawmakers on Capitol Hill Wednesday to discuss key legislative issues impacting the state’s credit unions, including:
- data security;
- ensuring the CU tax status remains as is;
- regulatory reform;
- housing finance reform;
- loan maturity limits;
- the Telephone Consumer Protection Act; and
- marijuana and hemp banking.
In total, the advocates met with 20 congressional offices to discuss important legislation and share how the legislative and regulatory processes affect the credit union system.