JULY 10, 2015
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Bulbs In the District: Sharing CU Perspective with Congressional Staff (Issue 1 of 6)
Representatives of Georgia United CU and GCUA provided a financial services aide to one of Georgia's U.S. Representatives a tour of the credit union's offices and some firsthand understanding of the industry.

  U.S. Senate Tax Reform Report Released (Issue 2 of 6)
A U.S. Senate working group released its report on tax-reform recommendations; the report recommended several structural reforms, but made no mention of any change in the tax status of credit unions.

  Four Elections Next Week (Issue 3 of 6)
Four special elections are scheduled for July 14 to fill vacant seats in the Georgia House of Representatives. Light voter turnout is expected, and with multiple candidates on each ballot, runoff elections are seen as likely.

  Educating Our Delegation in D.C. - September Hike the Hill (Issue 4 of 6)
The planned Hike the Hill event scheduled for Sept. 16-18 will be an opportunity to educate Georgia's Congressional delegation about credit union issues and to build relationships with legislators.

  Home Depot Asks Court to Dismiss Data-Breach Lawsuit
(Issue 5 of 6)

The Atlanta Business Chronicle reported that Home Depot, in its response to a lawsuit over the retailer's 2014 data breach, says the financial institutions that sued the company have not demonstrated "concrete injury" from the breach.

  Credit Unions in the News (Issue 6 of 6)
The credit union message is getting out, as evidenced by coverage of the industry in a wide range of media outlets, from newspapers to magazines to the broadcast media.

Georgia United
From left: Debbie Smith, Georgia United CU;
Will Anderson; Cindy Connelly, GCUA
In the District: Sharing CU Perspective with Congressional Staff (Issue 1 of 6)

During Congressional recess periods credit unions and GCUA share their time to help continue the education of legislators and staff on the benefits credit unions offer to their constituents, and the legislative issues of concern to the industry. On June 29th Debbie Smith, CEO of Georgia United Credit Union, and representatives from GCUA met in Duluth with Will Anderson, Financial Services aide to U.S. Rep. David Scott (D-13). During the visit, Will toured Georgia United’s offices to see first-hand how credit unions take care of their members. Will also spent time meeting the team to discuss what the credit union does to help its members afford life and make sound financial decisions.

In addition to a window into credit union operations, the visit also provided an opportunity to share concerns regarding the ever-increasing regulatory burdens placed on financial institutions (from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, NCUA and others), as well as the effect of merchant data breaches on card issuers. The meeting was a perfect time to reinforce the necessity behind the credit union "ask" of Congress that cyber security legislation requires merchants to have the same statutory privacy standards as financial institutions. The group also asked for support of H.R. 2287, the NCUA Budget Transparency Act, to bring transparency to their budget process by requiring a budget hearing. Our thanks to Rep. Scott who quickly thereafter became a co-sponsor of the H.R. 2287 on July 7th!

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U.S. Senate Tax Reform Report Released (Issue 2 of 6)

Washington, D.C.The U.S. Senate Finance Committee bipartisan working group tasked with examining the business income tax code released its report on July 8th with recommendations for reforms, and no mention of altering credit unions’ tax status in any way.

Protecting the credit union tax status remains a top advocacy priority, and credit unions, Leagues and CUNA worked to ensure that the credit union voice was heard during the working group’s proceedings. Consumers saw benefits of an estimated $12 billion in savings in 2014 alone, due to credit unions' lower fees, lower rates and higher yields on deposits. Approximately $2 billion of these savings affect bank customers due to credit unions’ competitive effect on the financial services market.

The report does mention several structural reforms – outside of the credit union system – to create a business tax code that would "promote tax neutrality and economic growth." These reforms include uniformly taxing business income and removing disincentives to save and invest. There is also mention of a potential provision that would require mandatory e-filing of all IRS Form 990s.

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VoteFour Elections Next Week (Issue 3 of 6)

There are four special elections on July 14th for various state House offices. These elections are projected to head to a runoff with no one candidate receiving more than 50 percent of the vote, and turnout will likely be light. Races like these are often decided by just a handful of voters – in one of the other special elections held in June, the person missed winning outright by only two votes! The four elections on July 14th are:

Atlanta election for District 80:
The seat was previously held by Rep. Mike Jacobs (R), trends Republican but is one of the few that has the propensity to swing in a normal election. There are presently four people running, one Democrat and three Republicans:

  1. Taylor Bennet (D)
  2. Catherine Bernard (R)
  3. Loren Collins (R)
  4. J. Max Davis (R)

Bonaire election for District 146:
The seat was previously held by Rep. Larry O’Neal (R), trends Republican. There are three people running, all Republican:

  1. Shaw Blackmon (R)
  2. Kelly Burke (R)
  3. Larry Walker (R)

Ocilla election for District 155:
The seat was previously held by Rep. Jay Roberts (R), trends Republican. There are four people running, all Republican:

  1. Scott Downing (R)
  2. Horace Hudgins (R)
  3. Sherry Miley (R)
  4. Clay Pirkle (R)

Roswell election for District 48:
The seat was previously held by the late Harry Geisinger (R), trends Republican. There are three people running, one Democrat and two Republicans:

  1. James Johnson (D)
  2. Dave McCleary (R)
  3. Betty Price (R)

Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on July 14th. To check your district for a potential race, register to vote, or for more information, please visit the Secretary of State’s election page.

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Hike the Hill 2014
Credit union leaders Hike the Hill in 2014
Educating Our Delegation in D.C. - September Hike the Hill (Issue 4 of 6)

Plans are under way for credit union leaders to travel to Washington, D.C., to meet with and educate the Georgia delegation at the 2015 Fall Hike the Hill. This is an opportunity to connect with both new and long-term members of Congress to address legislative issues and priorities for the entire industry. The Hike the Hill is September 16-18, 2015, and accommodations have been reserved at the The Palomar Washington, D.C. with a rate of $269.00 plus tax per night for single and double occupancy rooms.

Tentative plans have the group flying to D.C. on Wednesday, September 16th with briefings in the afternoon and Thursday for a day of legislative meetings with Congressmen. Depending upon legislator schedules, Hill visits may be completed on Friday morning – with an early afternoon departure time on September 18th. For additional information about this event, please contact Becky Moore or Cindy Connelly by August 5th at 770-476-9625.

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Home DepotHome Depot Asks Court to Dismiss Data-Breach Lawsuit (Issue 5 of 6)

On July 2nd the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported that Home Depot says it's not responsible for any losses incurred by financial institutions as a result of the company's massive 2014 data breach. Home Depot for the first time responded to a lawsuit filed against the company by more than 100 financial institutions over the breach. The article states, "In that complaint, filed on May 27, the financial institutions claim Home Depot's data breach caused total fraud losses in the billions of dollars."

But Home Depot claims the financial institutions' lawsuit "is filled with rhetoric and sensational claims as well as legal conclusions couched as factual allegations . . . and that noticeably absent is any plausible allegation of a concrete injury traceable." Home Depot goes on to say, "No individual bank alleges any harm that it specifically incurred as a result of the Home Depot data breach, and the majority of the types of damage the banks seek to recover are expenses voluntarily incurred to protect against possible future harm." The home improvement giant adds, "the banks’ complaint should be dismissed because the banks have not stated a single actionable claim against Home Depot."

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NewsCredit Unions in the News (Issue 6 of 6)

Credit unions continue to earn media coverage statewide and beyond. Whether it’s in a local newspaper, niche magazine or radio show, the credit union message is shared through a multitude of outlets across Georgia. Click here to see recent coverage of Georgia’s credit unions "In the News."

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