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The Advocate - Legislative Update
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 9:00 AM


Hike the Hill 2014

Once again, it's time for credit union leaders to present a show of force in Washington, DC. The next Hike the Hill takes place June 23-25. Please join us in meeting with our U.S. lawmakers to talk about the issues most pressing for credit unions, like risk-based capital and data security.

This year, the Cornerstone Credit Union League room block is in the historic Mayflower Renaissance Hotel, and the deadline to receive the discounted room rate of $229 (single/double) per night is Friday, May 23.

Questions about this event? Contact Cookie Dorsey at or Gretchen Ziegler at


RBC Proposal Roadshows

Chairman Debbie Matz has twice declined to extend the May 28 comment deadline on NCUA's risk-based capital (RBC) proposal, and Cornerstone continues to push for a strong credit union response. As you probably know, this proposal affects credit unions with concentrations in real estate, CUSOs, MBLs, mortgage servicing assets, and more. Is that your credit union? 

We're taking to the road to ensure people understand the proposal's scope and potential impact. Please join us as we discuss this proposal in depth and help you draft a compelling letter to NCUA before the May 28 deadline. Following are the upcoming RBC Proposal Roadshows.

Tuesday, April 29, 12:00-1:30 pm
Generations Federal Credit Union (NW branch)
6000 NW Loop 410
San Antonio, TX  78238

Wednesday, April 30, 2:00-3:30 pm
Brookstreet BBQ
10705 Westheimer Road
Houston, TX  77042

Tuesday, May 13, 11:30-1:00 pm
*  Lunch provided. Please RSVP!

Cornerstone Credit Union League
631 East Hill Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73105

To reserve your place at any one of these Roadshow events, please RSVP to Charlotte Spencer at as soon as possible.

You can find more information about our comment campaign at CUNA’s grassroots website. A detailed summary of the RBC rule may be accessed here. For more information, please visit our Cornerstone Comment Calls page or CUNA’s Risk-Based Capital Action Center for the latest information on the proposal and to access the CUNA calculator.

GOTV! Early Voting and Primary Runoffs

Vote!Just a reminder, GET OUT THE VOTE! The primary runoff elections will soon take place across the Cornerstone region. Following are some links to help you navigate your state agencies for important election information.


Early voting for the preferential primary and nonpartisan election runs May 5 through May 19, with the primary runoff on May 20. Early voting for the primary runoff election is June 3, and the actual primary runoff election day is June 10. For more information about voting in Arkansas, please refer to the Arkansas Secretary of State website, election pages.


The early voting for general, state, and U.S. offices for Oklahoma begins June 19-21, followed by the primary election on June 24. You can vote early at the County Election Board office in the county where you are registered to vote. For more information on elections in Oklahoma, please refer to the Oklahoma State Election Board.


The Texas runoffs take place on May 27. To take advantage of early voting, you may vote at any polling location in your county beginning May 19 through May 23. Check for early voting times and locations on your county voter registrar's website. And don't forget, Texans must show an approved photo ID when voting in person.

Super Star Advocates for PAC Announced

Last week was the Cornerstone Credit Union League's first annual meeting and expo as a tri-state league. Among the many celebrations, the top credit union advocates in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas were honored at a special awards dinner.

Cornerstone recognizes both Star Advocate and Super Star Advocate recipients. Award categories for PAC included top individual, top credit union, and top chapter contributors; Star Advocate credit unions; and Super Star Advocate credit unions. The 2013 winners of the Super Star Advocate awards for PAC fundraising are:

Port of Houston Credit Union
Super Star Advocate credit union for achieving the highest percentage of its PAC fundraising goal than any other credit union in the Cornerstone system.

Randolph Brooks Federal Credit Union
Super Star Advocate credit union for the greatest level of involvement in grassroots advocacy and fundraising, contributing the highest dollar amount of any credit union to its PAC.

Dwayne Ashcraft
Super Star Advocate for outstanding individual contributor to ARCUPAC and for his significant efforts in political engagement.

Mark Kelly
Super Star Advocate for outstanding individual contributor to OCUPAC and for his significant efforts in political engagement.

Tony Budet
Super Star Advocate for his outstanding individual efforts in the political engagement arena and the top individual contributor to the TCCUL PAC.

What Does It Take?

To earn a Star Advocate Award, credit unions must participate in essential advocacy activities, such as running Project Zip Code annually; contributing to the PAC; responding to critical calls to action on legislative or regulatory matters; and attending Hike the Hill or the CUNA GAC.

Super Star Advocates take political engagement to the next level. Super Star Advocates include credit unions enrolled in the CU: R.O.A.R. program and have an internal advocacy team made up of their own staff. They meet or exceed their PAC goals using payroll deduction, and they participate in local or capitol-level meetings with elected officials. Along with serving as key contacts for state and federal elected officials, these Super Star Advocates activate staff, directors, and even credit union members when critical legislative calls to action are issued.

Have You Met Your PZC Goal?

Just a reminder for chapters looking to be more politically engaged that April is Project Zip Code Month, and now is the time to download PZC version 14.0 from the Project Zip Code website (

We know that all 35 Cornerstone chapters are working diligently to meet their goals, and we are always available to answer questions or offer suggestions. We want you to succeed. To see where your chapter stands in reaching its goal, review the latest progress charts

Cornerstone's Project Zip Code website has additional resources that may be useful to you. Should you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact Jim Phelps at or April Mobley at


Political News

The rift in the Republican caucus was evident this past week as House members considered the fate of bills dealing with abortion, tax cuts, pay raises for state employees, and how to pay for repairs to the capitol building. With legislators eager to get home and concentrate on their campaigns, there's a good chance they will try to finish work before the last Friday in May.

Legislative Highlights

The Oklahoma House and Senate have been considering bills from the opposite chamber. Those bills that didn't pass or weren't heard are effectively dead for the session. Now the amended bills go back to the chamber of origin, and those which passed without amendment will head to the governor to sign or veto.

The hotlist of bills we are following has been whittled to ten. "Most of the bills we had concerns with are either dead or amended to our satisfaction," said Nate Webb, the new president of the Credit Union Association of Oklahoma. "Two bills of particular interest are still working their way through the process."

Those two bills are:

SB0582. This bill, which we support, deals with liens and Title 42. This past week our Oklahoma team negotiated for 5-1/2 hours with the opposition, taking comments and later incorporating them into a new draft. This week, the team will hold another meeting with key lawmakers at the table.

HB2605. This bill, which we support, deals with the small claims process. Senator Newberry and Nate Webb will be working with the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee to craft new language that will accomplish our goal. Once completed, this bill will go to conference committee.


A+ FCU Conducts Model CU:ROAR Training

Cornerstone's VP of Advocacy, Jim Phelps, recently visited A+ Federal Credit Union to participate in its first official meeting of their CU:ROAR advocacy team, and he came away highly impressed with the levels of enthusiasm and political engagement transpiring among the volunteers.

The team is co-directed by two up-and-comers, Kelsey Balcaitis and Ashley Pierce, with the full support of A+ FCU's CEO Kerry Parker and board of directors. Kelsey is the youth financial education coordinator and a former YP Advisory Group member. Ashley is a financial analyst and the Austin Chapter board treasurer. The directors recruited their team members by sending a communication to all staff asking for volunteers. They recruited 20 people from across all branch locations and internal departments.

"This dynamic group has hit on a great way to conduct their advocacy meetings, getting the most mileage out of the time available," reported Phelps. "Other credit unions can learn from the structure they have implemented."

Here are some of the highlights of the visit:

  • The meeting began with a brief presentation from CEO Kerry Parker about the importance of political engagement to the credit union and to safeguarding their jobs. Kerry said that last year A+ gave $1.2 million back to its members, and they have averaged that number over the past two years. 
  • Following Kerry’s remarks, Ashley and Kelsey conducted an excellent one-hour presentation called “Credit Unions:  What Makes Us Different and Why Does It Matter?” Their talk covered the history of the credit union system, the difference between profits and not-for-profits, and credit union market share vs. banks. 
  • Next, Jim Phelps conducted a 90-minute "Advocacy 101" presentation, which included information about Texas lawmakers in Congress and the state legislature, Project Zip Code, the PAC, and meeting with elected officials. He also shared copies of the guidebook, Advocacy: The Path to Political Engagement.
  • The meeting ended with a one-hour brainstorming session. The team was divided into three groups that focused on one of the following key advocacy areas:
    1. Local engagement:  ideas for activating staff when they receive critical calls to action; meeting locally with lawmakers and staff; and identifying staff who are interested in volunteering.
    2. PAC:  ideas for achieving 100% PAC participation and ways they can meet their 2014 PAC goal; discussion of resources to help educate staff about what PAC is and why it's important to participate.
    3. Communicating with colleagues:  a communication plan to inform and educate the rest of the staff about advocacy. CU: ROAR team members will assist in the distribution of advocacy updates within their respective branches or departments.

"I was very impressed with the dedication of this group," Phelps said. "They are really enthused about becoming more politically engaged."

If you'd like a Cornerstone advocacy leader to present at your next chapter event, need help structuring an effective advocacy meeting, or have questions about the CU:ROAR program, please contact Jim Phelps at or 800-442-5762, ext. 6481, or April Mobley at or 800-442-5762, ext. 6487.

Meet & Greet with Gubernatorial Candidate Abbott

On Wednesday, April 16, the Cornerstone Credit Union League hosted a "meet and greet" with Texas attorney general and gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott. More than 40 leaders from credit unions in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio attended the event.

Abbott worked the room, chatting with everyone, and afterward he made brief remarks noting his membership in several credit unions. He also described his effort to sue the federal government in attempt to defeat measures he considers harmful as a result of Dodd-Frank—the biggest being the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Representatives from Cornerstone presented Abbott with a contribution of $10,000 from the TCCUL PAC.

Abbott Event

Political Engagement Tees Off with Rep. Green

At the end of March, CU:ROAR-member credit union leaders participated in a golf tournament for Congressman Gene Green. The tournament was held in Green's home District 29, at the Hermann Park Golf Course in Houston. Green has been a staunch supporter of credit unions and the federal tax exemption, so local leaders were happy to join him at this annual fundraising event.

Representing Texas Credit Union Association, Political and Grassroots Director April Mobley participated on a team consisting of David Bleazard, CEO of First Service CU; David Frazier, CEO of Community Resource CU; and Tony Black, CEO of BCM FCU. For you golf lovers, the credit union team shot a 60 at 10 under par, not far behind the winning team whose members shot a 53 at 17 under par. First Service CU's David Bleazard won "Closest to the Pin" for the men, and Cornerstone's April Mobley won "Closest to the Pin" and "Longest Drive" for the women. Congrats on a terrific showing!

This sort of political engagement and relationship cultivation helps keep credit unions at the forefront of lawmakers' minds when important or controversial credit union issues arise. As a result, we are more likely to find a responsive lawmaker in our corner when needed.

Need help becoming politically engaged? Or would you like to share what your credit union is doing? Contact April Mobley at


Golf Tournament with Gene Green

Pictured (l to r):  David Bleazard; April Mobley, Rep. Gene Green,
David Frazier, and Tony Black.


Looking for the latest updates on regulatory and legislative issues?

Pending Federal and State Regulatory Issues

Pending Federal Legislative Issues