Credit Unions Have Answers to Bankers’ Campaign

It is a big week in Washington for financial services as the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) sponsors its annual Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) and fights off attacks by the American Bankers Association (ABA), which is lobbying Congress and pushing anti-credit union advertising on Capitol Hill.

A warm front may have brought the cherry blossoms with an early spring to Washington, D.C., but for 4,000 credit union supporters—200 of whom are part of the Northwest delegation—on hand for the CUNA GAC, there isn’t as much time to soak it all in as one might imagine. A five-day agenda that began Sunday includes briefings, meetings with lawmakers, regulatory workshops and keynote addresses by heavy hitters beginning as early as 7 a.m. and stretching until late into the night.

Against that backdrop, the American Bankers Association (ABA) is wrapping up a smaller gathering of 1,000 supporters and running a well-financed campaign in Hill publications targeting credit unions.

The paid campaign’s theme is “Five Questions Credit Unions Don’t Want You to Ask Them.” The questions are:

  1. “If 99 percent of credit unions are nowhere near their business lending cap, why should Congress more than double it?”
  2. “As tax-exempt institutions, why are some credit unions trying to expand loans to real estate developers, rather than fulfilling their mandate to serve people of modest means?”
  3. “If some credit unions want to expand their business lending, why not have them convert to tax-paying community banks?”
  4. “In a time of soaring deficits, why would Congress approve an increase in credit union business lending that would take business away from tax-paying community banks and decrease tax revenues?”
  5. “Why should members of Congress support H.R. 1418 and S.B. 509 if the credit union industry can’t answer those questions?”

What the ABA may not have banked on, however, is that the credit union movement does have answers to all of those questions as its huge grassroots team converges on congressional offices this week.

“The credit union teams are in agreement on why Congress should act now to make supplemental capital available to credit unions and why raising the member business lending cap makes sense for the economy,” said Stacy Augustine, senior vice president of legislative affairs for the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA). “Our grassroots supporters are so passionate about the credit union difference that they took time away from their jobs to be here this week. They know the benefits these initiatives create for credit union members, not the least of which include jobs creation and affordable credit.”

CUNA has issued answers to each of the ABA questions, which can be found on the NWCUA website. It has also published a video on its website featuring real small-business owners that attempts to show how the MBL bill currently being considered is more about helping small businesses then about helping credit unions.


Questions? Contact a member of the Association’s Legislative Affairs team:

Jennifer Wagner, Vice President, Legislative Advocacy
Mark Minickiello, Vice President, Legislative Affairs
Stacy Augustine, Senior Vice President & General Counsel

Posted in Events.