NOVEMBER 14, 2014
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Happy Thanksgiving!

Creating Influence will resume publication
with the December 5, 2014 issue.

Election 2014 button Post-Elections Primer: What the Results Mean for Credit Unions (Issue 1 of 5)
The 2014 elections are finally over, and now it's time for credit union advocates to start building relationships with newcomers in Congress and state government, as well as strengthening relationships with incumbents.

  Significant Margin of Success for Credit Union Supported Candidates (Issue 2 of 5)
Credit unions supporters saw their efforts on behalf of candidates rewarded on Election Day, as almost all of those supported by GA CUPAC and CULAC won their races.

  As Congress Winds Down, Opportunity to Seek Reg Relief (Issue 3 of 5)
CUNA is hoping to get the U.S. Senate to pass three regulatory relief bills, already passed by the House, during the brief legislative session before Congress adjourns in early December.

  Governor Deal Honors Credit Unions (Issue 4 of 5)
Gov. Nathan Deal, recently elected to a second term, met with credit union advocates to thank them for their efforts and that of the industry, and to share again his proclamation in honor of International Credit Union Day.

  Home Depot Data Breach Battle (Issue 5 of 5)
The Atlanta Business Chronicle reported that 30 federal class-action lawsuits have been filed against Atlanta-based Home Depot in the wake of a data breach that exposed millions of credit card accounts and customer email addresses.

Post-Elections Primer: What the Results Mean for Credit Unions (Issue 1 of 5)

ConfettiThe greatest surprise in the 2014 elections was the simple point that in the wake of the voter wave on November 4th, there will be no runoffs for the U.S. Senate seat and/or the race for Governor - as pollsters and the two main parties alike anticipated at least one high-profile runoff. With the elections official (at least in Georgia) credit unions can get a true picture of the leadership makeup of this state:

Congressional Races
The results of the election have produced five new individuals to represent Georgia in Washington, D.C. While four of these new individuals were the result of vacancies created by incumbents choosing not to run (or choosing to run for U.S. Senate), one of the new leaders was due to an outright defeat of the incumbent. Regardless of the reasons, this election has produced a 31% change in those serving in Washington, D.C., on our behalf. What does this mean for credit unions? New faces in leadership creates the necessity to strengthen relationships and develop relationships where there are none existing already. While challenging, it is an opportunity. Direct credit union engagement on the local level with all elected officials is important, especially the newly elected as it is vital to put a local face on the credit union industry. Attending the GAC, Hike the Hill, and/or Hike at Homes with newly elected Congressional leaders is also an important “early” task. The new Georgia individuals elected to Congress:

State Races
In regards to leadership INSIDE the state; Georgia’s state-level leaders are much more of a “status quo” as all of the statewide incumbents were re-elected:

The only newcomer to the circle of statewide offices is the seat of State School Superintendent, won by newcomer Richard Woods (R), who secured the election to replace the seat vacated by current Superintendent Dr. John Barge.

In the Georgia General Assembly, the majority of the races that see competition do so in the primary, and not the general. There were no upsets in the outcome of the November 4th election, and there were seven incumbents to lose in the primary and primary runoff earlier in the year. Even with the “status quo” of the November elections, there are 24 new individuals who will be serving as state representatives or senators for Georgia due to open seats that were created to retirements or others choosing to run for higher office (such as the above Buddy Carter and Barry Loudermilk, who both served in the state Senate prior to the election).

What does this mean for credit unions? As with the above new Congressional leaders, relationships will need to be cultivated among the new state legislators. But as much of the leadership of the state remains the same, the existing relationships the credit union industry has with elected state leaders will need to be strengthened. This can be done through local credit union engagement, PAC support (where applicable) and regular communication. Direct communication with these legislators is imperative for any industry seeking to grow its legislative influence. As such, efforts to engage all elected officials are ongoing to build a baseline of understanding of credit unions - and expand on their current knowledge of what makes credit unions unique. Regular communication with state legislators happens throughout the year to keep credit union issues at the forefront.

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SuperSignificant Margin of Success for Credit Union Supported Candidates (Issue 2 of 5)

Georgia credit unions had a strong night in the general elections, with 97 percent of state-level candidates supported by GA CUPAC winning their elections and all but one of the federal candidates supported by CULAC winning their elections. The ability to support credit union supporters is vital to the advocacy efforts of the industry, and the PAC dollars raised by credit unions all across the state were put to work successfully in the elections. Thank you for all of your involvement in PAC fundraising; your efforts help ensure a positive environment in which to serve your members!

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U.S. CapitolAs Congress Winds Down,
Opportunity to Seek Reg Relief
(Issue 3 of 5)

The U.S. Congress returned this week after the elections one last time before leadership in the Senate changes over at the beginning of the New Year. There are several bills and items of business that chamber must resolve before it adjourns for the year, and others that credit unions hope to push forward to a favorable resolution. 

Congress must pass legislation to fund the government past December 11th, whether in the form of a short-term continuing resolution or an omnibus to fund the government through the end of the next fiscal year. Beyond that, CUNA is seeking to move three House-passed regulatory relief bills through the Senate before the early-December adjournment. These bills are: 

  • The Privacy Notification Modernization Act (S. 635/H.R. 749), which would eliminate the requirement for credit unions to send members annual privacy notices by mail, provided the credit union has not changed its privacy policy;
  • The Credit Union Share Insurance Fund Parity Act (S. 2699/H.R. 3468), which would make it clear that NCUA has the authority under the Federal Credit Union Act to extend share insurance coverage to funds in interest on lawyer trust accounts (IOLTAs); and
  • The Capital Access for Small Community Financial Institutions Act (S. 1806/H.R. 3584), which would correct a drafting error that kept privately insured credit unions from joining the Federal Home Loan Bank program.
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From left: Brandee Bickle, GCUA; Jason Golden, GCUA; Gov. Nathan Deal; Cindy Connelly, GCUA
Governor Deal Honors Credit Unions (Issue 4 of 5)

On Thursday, November 13th Governor Nathan Deal met with credit union advocates in person to thank them for the efforts of the industry and their collaborative efforts. He shared again the official state proclamation honoring all credit unions on behalf of International Credit Union Day - the spirit of which credit unions embody all year long! Credit unions make a positive impact in Georgia daily in serving the 2 million plus members in the state, but taking a moment to remember that what you do matters is important. Credit unions help people afford life!

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Home DepotHome Depot Data Breach Battle
(Issue 5 of 5)

The November 7th edition of the Atlanta Business Chronicle highlighted what it referred to as an “epic court fight” over the Home Depot data breach, and that battle lines are drawn. The article illustrates just how close to home this issue is for Georgia, and one can guess the perspective of the article: “On one side is the world's largest home-improvement retailer with more than 2,200 stores, 300,000 employees, and $79 billion in annual sales. On the other side are the lawyers representing all of the individuals and financial institutions who claim they were harmed by the data breach.” There is no question that Home Depot is in Georgia’s proverbial back yard.

The article provides a list of 30 class-action lawsuits that have been filed against Home Depot in federal courts across the country, and states that “all allege that the company failed to properly safeguard its customers' personal financial data in the data breach, which was confirmed by Home Depot on September 8th.”Home Depot previously said the data breach exposed 56 million credit card accounts. The company reported November 6th that about 53 million email addresses were also taken during the breach. The article states that Home Depot and its lawyers, along with the lawyers representing those allegedly harmed by the data breach, are now preparing for the upcoming legal showdown that will determine Home Depot's liability for the data breach and the damages it may have to pay.

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