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Puzzle Making Connections in the Districts
(Issue 1 of 5)

Political events around the state offer credit union advocates the chance to interact with state and federal legislators and spread the crredit union message.

  Augusta Area Credit Unions Meet with Key Legislator
(Issue 2 of 5)

Representatives of several credit unions met with the vice-chair of the state House Judiciary Committee, sharing insights on industry and legislative issues and building personal connections.

  Looking Ahead to 2016 (Issue 3 of 5)
GCUA conducted a review of legislative priorities for next year, analyzing legislation and regulation together to identify ways to simplify the regulatory process and eliminate constraints on credit unions.

  Credit Unions Preparing to Hike the Hill! (Issue 4 of 5)
More than 20 Georgia credit union leaders plan to travel to Washington, D.C., in mid-September for a Hike the Hill event aimed at improving the operating environment for all credit unions.

  Credit Unions in the News (Issue 5 of 5)
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.

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, left, and Cindy Connelly, GCUA
Making Connections in the Districts (Issue 1 of 5)

Connecting with legislators in the district is a simple, yet powerful tool for credit unions. When legislators connect an issue with an individual from "back home," it resonates and places a personal aspect on the governmental affairs process. In the past two weeks, there were several of these connections made:

  • On August 25th, leaders from Robins FCU including CEO John Rhea, SRVP Dee Dee Côté and VP Christina O’Brien attended the Georgia Chamber Congressional Luncheon in Perry. During the event they connected with a large number of both federal and state legislators, and their self-directed attendance at this event helps grow connections and awareness for all credit unions.
  • On August 31st, Brian Akin, CEO of North Georgia CU, and Harold Harbin, board member, represented credit unions at the in-district political event for Rep. Alan Powell (R-Hartwell), connecting with several state legislators in attendance. Both Akin and Harbin have a personal connection with Powell, who sits on several committees of interest to credit unions.
  • On September 1st, Andy Harris, CEO of Coosa Valley FCU, and Matt Elrod, VP, attended the in-district political event for Rep. Trey Kelley (R-Cedartown). Rep. Kelley is on the House Banking Committee as well as the Ways and Means Committee, and both Harris and Elrod have developed a personal relationship with this key legislator.
  • On September 1st, Mike Mercer, CEO of GCUA, and Cindy Connelly, SR VP of Government Influence, represented credit unions at a political event in Atlanta for U.S. Congressman Doug Collins (R-9), where they were able to engage both him and U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), who serves as the Republican Conference Chairman in the U.S. House.

ConnectionsIn 2015 we have been delighted to share so many of these credit union connections. The above are just three of the most recent; thank you to all of the individuals for engaging with their legislators, past, present and future. If your credit union or a member of your team has made a personal connection with a legislator, please let us know. Being successful in legislative initiatives cannot be done without this type of interaction - it’s literally the fuel in the vehicle for credit union advocacy. Without this grassroots power, it stalls!

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From left: Mike Hill, RCT FCU; Brandee Bickle, GCUA; Sherry Saxon, Augusta Metro FCU; State Rep. Barry Fleming; Grace Helms, Peach State FCU; Leah Eldridge, Associated CU; Stacy Tallent, Heath Center CU

Augusta Area Credit Unions
Meet with Key Legislator (Issue 2 of 5)

On Wednesday, August 26th credit unions sat down with state Rep. Barry Fleming (R-Harlem) to help grow his understanding of credit unions. Rep. Fleming was targeted for a Hike at Home to strengthen his connection with the industry given his position of leadership in the House Judiciary Committee. He sits as vice-chair of the committee, one in which credit unions spend much time given the number of bills they debate on lending, foreclosures, and general financial issues. Helping him have a well-rounded understanding of what makes credit unions unique is beneficial to future advocacy efforts, and this meeting was a great way to help grow his personal connections.

Credit union leaders from Associated CU, Augusta Metro FCU, Health Center CU, Peach State FCU, RCT FCU and GCUA shared their insight on legislative issues, industry issues, and the types of loans available at credit unions. Rep. Fleming was interested in the credit union impact on the Augusta area and statewide. This meeting with Rep. Fleming helped illustrate the prudent lending practices credit unions have, and the regulatory burdens already on top of the industry - something that will provide perspective as he considers bills in the future.

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Look aheadLooking Ahead to 2016
(Issue 3 of 5)

In addition to all of the in-district and "Hike" activity to grow credit union influence throughout 2015, GCUA has conducted a thorough review of the legislative priorities this year that could be helpful to credit union success in the years ahead. Legislation and regulation are intertwined heavily, so the approach to improve the environment in which Georgia credit unions operate was done with the mindset of combining legislation and regulation together in the analysis. In that process, potential changes in law/regulation to create new value and opportunities were identified.

By combining the legislative and regulatory perspectives, the potential improvements covered a wide scope. Changes sought on behalf of Georgia credit unions include broad spectrum enhancements to the charter, improving field of membership options, relaxing restrictions on credit union operations, expanding options for investments and accounts, clarifying lending provisions, and eliminating the constraints on auditing and general compliance requirements. A common theme in all of the identified areas is that the changes are sought to provide avenues to simplify the regulatory process and eliminate constraints on credit unions, and improve the state charter holistically from both the legislative and the regulatory perspective.

GCUA sat down with the Department of Banking and Finance on August 24th to discuss opportunities for credit unions, and presented ideas for enhancements to state law and regulation. The meeting was positive with the Department in much dialogue, and GCUA looks forward to continued work and pursuing these enhancements in 2016. Stay tuned!

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U.S. CapitolCredit Unions Preparing to Hike the Hill! (Issue 4 of 5)

During the week of September 14th, more than 20 credit union leaders will be traveling to Washington, D.C., to Hike the Hill and meet with members of Congress to discuss ways in which the federal government can improve the operating environment for all credit unions. For those of you traveling (or for those curious what these types of meetings entail), click here for a quick two-minute video of how to make the most out of any Hike meeting. Stay tuned to the next edition of Creating Influence for an overview of these meetings, and thank you to all of the credit unions traveling up to D.C. Your time is an investment for the entire industry!

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NewsCredit Unions in the News (Issue 5 of 5)

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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