MAY 16, 2014
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Life Is Not a Game:
Credit Union Convention (Issue 1 of 6)

Credit union leaders from around Georgia are attending GCUA's Annunal Convention in Savannah this week, learning better ways to help their members afford life.

 
     
  Campaign Season = Opportunity for Credit Unions!
(Issue 2 of 6)

Political campaign season offers credit union people a variety of ways to develop relationships with candidates and promote the credit union message to potential future elected officials.

 
  Credit Union Board Members Running for Office (Issue 3 of 6)
This year's state and federal elections include five candidates whose membership on Georgia credit union boards gives them a deeper understanding of the needs of the industry.

 
  U.S. House Passes Three Pro-Credit Union Bills (Issue 4 of 6)
The U.S. House of Representatives passed three bills that will benefit credit unions. Two were stand-alone measures applying to credit unions, while the third affects a broader range of financial institutions.

 
  Speak Out to NCUA on Risk-Based Capital Proposal Concerns
(Issue 5 of 6)

There is still time to comment on NCUA's proposed risk-based capital rule, which would have a major impact on federally insured credit unions. The deadline for comment is May 28.

 
  Hampel Named Interim CEO of CUNA (Issue 6 of 6)
CUNA has named Chief Economist Bill Hampel its interim president and chief executive officer, effective June 11, as the organization continues to search for a permanent CEO.

 
 
 
GCUA Annual Convention 2014Life Is Not a Game:
Credit Union Convention
(Issue 1 of 6)

As of press time, the 2014 GCUA Annual Convention is in full swing! Credit union leaders from around the state are in Savannah this week to hear from a myriad of speakers for insight and ideas on how to proactively create a positive future for their institutions. With the theme of “Life Is Not a Game,” participants are seeing firsthand how credit unions help people afford life, how to navigate life as an institution, and tools to help members succeed. This is illustrated for the perspective of senior leaders of credit unions, board leaders of credit unions, and as future leaders of credit unions.

This event began on Wednesday the 14th, and closes on Saturday the 17th when credit unions honor U.S. Congressman John Lewis (D-5) before wrapping up what has been an already packed information experience. If you are in Savannah for the meeting, you know firsthand! If you were not able to join your peers this year, make plans to do so in 2015 (and you can capture part of the experience of this year’s event on Twitter with the hashtag #CUinSavannah).

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Campaign Season = Opportunity for Credit Unions! (Issue 2 of 6)
Heath
Above: State Sen. Bill Heath (seond from left) at Coosa Valley FCU
Murphy
Above: State Sen. Jack Murphy (center) at Georgia's Own CU

Credit unions across Georgia are making an impact in the 2014 primary elections and getting involved. Why? Engaging with candidates through physical campaign support is powerful as it develops strong relationships with elected officials, as well as helps support credit union supporters – it grows the legislative influence for the entire industry. When one considers the amount of time and effort put forth to build relationships, the act of helping pro-credit union candidates get elected (or re-elected) is an investment in your credit union.

With the primaries just days away on May 20th (and the state Legislature working up until March 20th) it has been a narrow window of time to run a campaign, much less catch up to competition. Many of these races only have primary competition; in these whoever wins in May wins the seat. Because of this, the efforts of credit unions have made a direct impact in a variety of ways:

Credit Union Campaigning: Meet and Greets
Inviting a legislator to meet members and staff is a powerful activity in campaigning, especially when the event is coupled with publications, newsletter articles, and/or mailers to members in the district. It’s the type of event that generates attention from legislators other than the “hosted” legislator!

  • On Wednesday, May 7th Coosa Valley FCU hosted State Sen. Bill Heath (R-Bremen) at their Rockmart location. Sen. Heath has competition in the general election, and knows firsthand the value of connecting with credit unions – and the positive impact credit unions have in his district. This event was a great opportunity to grow the positive relationship that has been developed over the past two election cycles.
  • On Saturday, May 10th Georgia’s Own CU hosted State Sen. Jack Murphy (R-Cumming) at their Vickery Village branch in the district. Sen. Murphy has three opponents in the primary and none in the general. With this many opponents, a runoff is highly likely and a margin of victory for Sen. Murphy has been speculated as slim – his race is one that is thought by many to be an upset. However, Sen. Murphy has been a consistent supporter of credit unions in the state legislature and helped on a large number of key issues over the years - something that is worth supporting.
Hamilton
State Rep. Mark Hamilton (fourth from left)

Credit Union Campaigning: Phone Banks
Often, a phone call from a campaign volunteer is the only direct interaction a voter may have with a candidate. These calls can make a difference in if a person chooses to vote for an individual, as well as increasing their likelihood of voting period! Credit union leaders have volunteered their personal time after work placing these calls:

  • On Tuesday, May 6th Tim Bridges (Associated CU), Kathy Igou (Georgia’s Own CU) and Andrea Shorr (LGE Community CU), along with volunteers from GCUA, manned the phone banks for State Rep. Mark Hamilton (R-Cumming) to support his re-election efforts. Rep. Hamilton’s race was targeted for credit union involvement due to his consistent engagement on our issues in the state session. His race has primary competition only, so the get-out-the vote calls made by the credit union group were well timed!
  • On Tuesday, May 13th Kathy Igou from Georgia’s Own CU organized additional phone bank support for Rep. Hamilton utilizing members of her credit union team to add to the support of the credit union industry. This type of one-two punch amplifies the legislative influence, and builds a key connection between credit union and legislator!

Credit Union Campaigning: Yard Signs
Every race is unique, and the needs of the candidates vary. When one thinks of support, it can be as easy as the lawn in front of you! Two of the candidates with challenging races had this need and reached out to credit unions to obtain areas for signs out in the district:

  • Morris yard signsInterstate FCU received yard signs for distribution in the district from State Rep. Greg Morris (R-Vidalia), who has been a staunch supporter of financial industry issues. As House Banking Chairman, Rep. Morris has blocked a large volume of bills that if passed, would have drastically changed the foreclosure process in Georgia. He reached out to credit unions to procure yards for signs as he has a challenger with grassroots strength in the primary election.
  • Peach State FCU along with members of GCUA helped procure spots for signs in the district of State Rep. Brooks Coleman (R-Duluth). Rep. Coleman sits on the board of Peach State FCU (see below article) with multiple challengers in the May primary and is slated for a tough race.

The time that all of these credit union individuals shared has a direct impact on the elections, and helped build even stronger relationships with those who make decisions on the bills that could change how you serve your members. Please click here to see previous campaign activity by credit unions in the 2014 elections, and watch for opportunities and events in your area. Although politics is a personal matter, having a voice on legislative issues is a priority. Take advantage of the opportunities this election year to engage in campaigns!

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Credit Union Board Members Running for Office (Issue 3 of 6)

Vote signsThere are five credit union board members running in the state/federal elections on May 20th. Why would this be important to your credit union? Individuals who are connected with credit unions at this level have a strong understanding of the unique needs of the industry, which is extremely beneficial from a legislative perspective. These individuals are:

  1. State Rep. Brooks Coleman (R-Duluth); board member of Peach State FCU. He is the incumbent and has two challengers in the primary election and no challengers in the general. Whichever candidate wins on May 20th wins the seat.
  2. State Rep. Tom Dickson (R-Cohutta); board member of Georgia United CU. He is the incumbent, and has one challenger in the primary election and no challengers in the general, so whoever wins on the 20th wins this seat also.
  3. State Rep. Howard Mosby (D-Atlanta); board member of 1st Choice CU. He is the incumbent, and while he has no challengers in May he will have competition in the general election this November.
  4. State Rep. Brian Prince (D-Augusta) is an associate board member of Augusta Metro FCU. He is the incumbent, and has no challengers in either the primary or the general (and will retain his seat without a fight!).
  5. Mike Collins (R-link to campaign page); board member of Associated CU who is running for the open Congressional seat in the 10th District. There are seven Republicans running against each other in the May 20th primary, so a runoff election is highly likely if not an absolute guarantee. Whichever candidate wins will still have competition in the general election this November.
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U.S. CapitolU.S. House Passes Three Pro-Credit Union Bills (Issue 4 of 6)

In the evening hours of May 7th, three credit union regulatory relief bills passed the full U.S. House. The bills, two of which are stand-alone credit union measures, are important steps in a broad relief agenda to attack regulatory burden from a number of fronts:

  • The Community Institution Mortgage Relief Act (H.R. 3468) by Reps. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) to provide National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) coverage for trust accounts, such as Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTAs) and other similar accounts. H.R. 3468 would provide parity in the insurance treatment of trust accounts offered by credit unions with the treatment of similar accounts offered by banks.
  • H.R. 2672 by Reps. Andy Barr (R-KY) and Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX) to grant credit unions and other lenders greater input into rural-area designations made by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The rural county designations determined by regulators can impact the types of products credit unions offer their members in those areas.
  • H.R. 3584, the Capital Access for Small Community Financial Institutions Act by Reps. Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Joyce Beatty (D-OH). This bill corrects a drafting error in the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) Act thereby allowing state-chartered, privately insured credit unions to join the FHLB system. The change would give 132 privately insured credit unions additional opportunities to provide mortgage credit to their members.
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Speak outSpeak Out to NCUA on Risk-Based Capital Proposal Concerns
(Issue 5 of 6)

Early this year, NCUA released a proposed risk- based capital rule that would have a major impact on federally insured credit unions. And while the industry is supportive of some form of risk-based capital, if the current proposal does not have substantial changes before it is adopted it will have a major impact on credit unions. In brief, the proposal would:

  • Cause credit unions to set aside over $7B in additional capital that is simply not needed for safety and soundness;
  • Significantly reduce the ability of credit unions to lend to their members and communities and provide other important services;
  • Cause credit unions to be held to a higher risk-based capital standard, since except for consumer loans, the proposed risk weights were not properly set to reflect that credit unions’ historic risks are lower than those of small banks,
  • Violate the Federal Credit Union Act in several ways:
    • The most significant violation is that the Act requires NCUA to establish a risk-based NW system to address material risks for which the net worth ratio (Tier I capital) at the adequately capitalized level may not provide adequate protection.
    • Also, under the Act, NCUA must consider the unique structure of credit unions (the fact that credit unions cannot go into the capital markets to boost earnings). Clearly, the risk weightings demonstrate NCUA has bypassed that provision.
  • NCUA would have authority to impose additional capital on a case-by-case basis, and the rule would target compliance for 18 months after the rule becomes final (in contrast with the 9 years that banks were given to comply with bank RBC requirements).

In order for risk-based capital to be implemented correctly, it must be part of overall capital and prompt corrective action reform. Credit unions need to weigh in with their concerns to NCUA before the May 28th comment period deadline. You can do so by clicking here and writing your own customizable letter.

The credit union concerns have been voiced in Congress. Reps. Peter King (R-NY) and Gregory Meeks (D-NY) circulated a letter urging NCUA to rethink its proposed rule. The letter calls on NCUA to make changes to the proposal to “ensure it does not unduly burden credit unions” and does not affect healthy credit unions’ ability to meet members’ needs. GCUA actively worked along with the other states to garner support of the letter and by the end of the day on May 12th more than 320 House members had agreed to sign their names in support of credit unions. Special thanks to the following eleven Georgia House members who added their support to our cause: House Financial Services Committee members Reps. Lynn Westmorland (R-3) and David Scott(D-13) as well as Reps. Jack Kingston (R-1), Sanford Bishop (D-2), Hank Johnson (D-4), John Lewis (D-5), Tom Price (R-6), Rob Woodall (R-7), Austin Scott (R-8), John Barrow (D-12) and Tom Graves (R-14).

The number of comment letters posted on NCUA’s website about the proposal continues to grow – now around 150. There are just 12 days left until the comment due date (May 28) which is ample time for more comments to be posted by credit unions, and GCUA encourages you to do so if you have not yet already. If you need additional information, CUNA has developed a Risk-Based Capital Action Center at www.cuna.org/rbc.

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HampelHampel Named Interim CEO of CUNA (Issue 6 of 6)

CUNA announced on May 7th that its Chief Economist, Bill Hampel, will serve as interim president/CEO effective June 11. Hampel, a senior member of CUNA's credit union advocacy team in Washington, is one of the longest-tenured executives at CUNA, having joined the association as an economist in 1978. He is no stranger to the Georgia credit union community, as he has been a frequent speaker at various meetings and at the Hike the Hill.

Prior to joining CUNA, Hampel was an assistant professor of economics at the University of Montana-Missoula. Before that he was an instructor of economics at Iowa State University at Ames. During a one-year sabbatical in 1989, Hampel served as a staff member at Navy FCU. He was on the board of directors for Great Wisconsin CU from 1991 to 2003, serving as board chair from 1999 to 2001, and has served on the board of the National Cooperative Bank. CUNA's search for a permanent CEO will continue throughout the summer; the CUNA Board hopes to make a hire by this fall.

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