February 21, 2017

Three Advocacy Topics to Consider As You Head to GAC

By Christopher Roe, SVP, Corporate & Legislative Affairs


Each year, more than 5,000 credit union attendees gather at CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) in Washington, D.C., for the same purpose: to advocate for the credit union industry. We’ll be at GAC, too, hiking the hill alongside credit union leaders and members and advocating for credit union system priorities.

As you head to Washington, D.C., or follow the conference from afar, here are three advocacy topics to think about.

  1. Credit unions need regulatory relief.
    Credit unions offer members many benefits, including affordable financial services. However, as regulatory burden increases, credit union members end up paying the price. According to CUNA, regulatory burden subjects 105 million credit union members to higher loan rates, longer wait times for loan approvals, limited access to modernized technology and fewer and more expensive services and products. This translates to a loss of $71 each year per credit union member.

    Given that credit unions didn’t cause the Great Recession, small credit unions are disproportionately impacted by new regulations because they lack the scale of big banks.

    How can you join us, CUNA and other credit union leaders to start the advocacy conversation with Congress? Ask Congress to pass legislation that takes into account that credit unions are small financial institutions and shouldn’t be treated like big banks.


  2. Credit unions need negligent merchants to be held to data security standards.It’s no secret that today’s risk landscape is evolving constantly. And, credit unions are a target – especially when it comes to data breaches.

    Because negligent merchants are not liable for lax data security standards, credit unions are exposed each time a cyberattack strikes a merchant. (Consider the recent Arby’s breach, for example.) After the breach, credit unions are responsible for covering the costs of the resulting fraud, blocking transactions, reissuing cards, increasing staffing and monitoring consumer accounts. But, credit unions and their member owners aren’t compensated for the harm caused by the negligent merchant.

    How can you join us, CUNA and other credit union leaders to start the advocacy conversation with Congress? Ask Congress to pass legislation that would impose data security standards on merchants to protect consumers and reduce criminal access to financial information.


  3. Credit unions need to preserve their tax status.
    As you know, the credit union federal income tax status allows many credit unions to survive and provide members with accessible and affordable financial services. In fact, credit union members have benefited by $10 billion dollars in the last year because of the tax status. Because credit unions are structured as not-for-profit financial cooperatives owned by their members, the credit union tax exempt status ensures the “People Helping People” philosophy and mission to promote thrift and access to credit can continue well into the future.

    How can you join us, CUNA and other credit union leaders to start the advocacy conversation with Congress? Tell Congress that credit unions earn their tax status each and every day, and that a tax on a member-owned, not-for-profit credit union is a tax on Americans of modest means.

We hope these serve as thought starters as you make your way to GAC. If you’re attending, stop by booth 343 to say hi and enter for a chance to win a $1,000 charitable donation. If not, join us in conversation on Twitter!