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Cornerstone Advocacy

Advocacy has shaped the history of the credit union movement

Posted: May 26, 2022 | Author: Cornerstone League
advocacy  Young Professionals Conference 

At the recent Cornerstone League Young Professionals Conference, Cameryn Bliss and Rachel Pigman led the Advocacy 101 discussion about why advocacy is vital for the credit union movement.

“Credit unions have had to advocate for themselves for over 150 years,” said Bliss. “If we don’t do it, who will? Certainly not banks!”

Pigman explored credit union history, particularly advocacy wins such as:

  • the 1937 amendment that exempted credit unions from federal taxation;
  • the 1998 Credit Union Membership Access Act, which restored expansion and multiple-bond privileges and reversed a Supreme Court decision meant to limit field of membership to a single common bond and potentially disenfranchise millions of credit union members;  
  • the 2018 Dodd-Frank reform bill that eased some regulatory burdens for credit unions; and
  • the 2021 IRS tax reporting proposal win and the particularly effective grassroots campaign that garnered more than 850,000 responses from the credit union movement.

“We still have to fight for data security and to ease regulatory burdens on credit unions,” said Pigman, reiterating the need for YPs’ engagement in credit union advocacy.

Additionally, Cody Long, workforce analyst at TTCU, Laci Whitmire, operations support specialist at Diamond Lakes FCU, and Linda Nunez, assistant program director at GECU, participated in a panel discussion during which they discussed their personal experiences at CUNA GAC.

Long said seeing everyone in person at the conference was energizing. “Seeing everyone’s faces, the passion that we have to do that, seeing it on the bigger stage will motivate you, put a spark in you.”  

Whitmire said hiking the Hill was inspiring. “Getting to see the senators and talking to them one on one was great. They were really listening. They want to know what’s going on in the community. That’s the power of the movement.”

“I was inspired by the speakers,” said Nunez. “I probably cried after every single speaker. That was my favorite part, listening to the obstacles they’ve had to overcome to get to where they are.”

She added, “Be prepared to wear flats! The days are long.”

Whitmire encouraged young professionals to apply for the GAC Crasher program. “If you can apply, do it. I’ve never done anything like that before. Getting on a plane, going to D.C., I didn’t know what to expect.”  

CUNA’s 2023 Governmental Affairs Conference is Feb. 26 – March 2, 2023. To learn more, visit CUNA’s GAC web page

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