SEPTEMBER 18, 2015
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Boot Georgia Credit Unions Hike the Hill
in D.C. (Issue 1 of 6)

Representatives of 16 Georgia credit unions and GCUA discussed credit union issues and relevant legislation with members of Congress at a recent Hike the Hill event in Washington, D.C.

  Senate MBL Bill Introduced (Issue 2 of 6)
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul introduced a bill that would raise the limit on member business lending for well-qualified credit unions. The bill mirrors one in the House whose co-sponsors include four legislators from Georgia.

  In-District CU Connections with Legislators (Issue 3 of 6)
A recent event involving a Georgia state legislator who serves on a credit union board provided an opportunity for credit union advocates to strengthen their relationship with him.

  Your Voice Is Needed: CU Survey (Issue 4 of 6)
Credit union people can help shape the credit union message for state and federal lawmakers and regulators by taking part in a short online survey on legislative and regulatory issues.

  Federal Ruling on Garnishment Law Halts Practice in Gwinnett (Issue 5 of 6)
A federal judge's ruling in a Georgia case has put an end, at least temporarily, to garnishments in Gwinnett County. The judge ruled Georgia's garnishment statute unconstitutional, but an appeal is expected.

  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.

Hike the Hill
Georgia credit union Hike the Hill participants between meetings with Congress
Georgia Credit Unions Hike the Hill in D.C.
(Issue 1 of 6)

Credit union leaders from Georgia traveled to Washington, D.C., this week to meet with members of Congress at Hike the Hill. During the visits with legislators, the group discussed more than 15 separate bills and issues that the federal government should enact to help credit union members. These federal bills ranged from member business lending to data security, from regulatory reform to protecting the tax status of credit unions. These credit union issues are summarized in four areas:

  • Protect member data
  • Achieve sensible regulations (and not overly burdensome or duplicative requirements)
  • Allow credit unions the ability to provide additional credit to their members, and
  • Maintain the financial strength of the credit union charter.

To aid in the messaging to the Congressional offices, GCUA designed a legislative app to provide staffers key information on Georgia credit unions. This app houses information on credit unions, the members in the district, the positive influence credit unions have on the state, and the issues in Congress important to the industry. While designed as an introduction to credit unions and bills for the millennial-aged legislative aides in Washington, D.C., the app is also a quick way for credit union individuals to get fast information on the issues in advance of legislative visits, or educate staff and board members on the topics that can influence the operational environment for any credit union.

The Hill visits are an avenue to share the credit union message, and illustrate how Congress can help credit union members obtain the financial products and services they need from the industry. During the visits, credit unions built on the consistent interaction the industry has with their members of Congress and articulated the credit union position perfectly; to see some of the hike activity visit @GCUAGov on Twitter. Thank you to all the credit unions who shared their time at this Hike: 

  • Augusta Metro Federal Credit Union 
  • CGR Credit Union
  • Coosa Valley Federal Credit Union 
  • Credit Union of Georgia
  • Delta Community Credit Union 
  • DOCO Credit Union
  • Fulton Teachers’ Credit Union 
  • GEMC Federal Credit Union 
  • Georgia United Credit Union 
  • Georgia’s Own Credit Union 
  • Kinetic Credit Union 
  • LGE Community Credit Union
  • Memorial Health Credit Union
  • North Georgia Credit Union 
  • Peach State Federal Credit Union
  • United 1st Federal Credit Union
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U.S. CapitolSenate MBL Bill Introduced (Issue 2 of 6)

On September 10th, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act (S. 2028) to assist credit union members by raising the MBL cap to 27.5 percent of total assets, up from the current 12.25 percent cap. This legislation, if passed, would permit credit unions to more fully meet the credit needs of America’s small businesses by increasing the statutory member business lending (MBL) cap imposed on credit unions in 1998. It was one of the bills this week’s credit union Hike the Hill delegation urged Congress to pass.

The legislation is targeted toward credit unions with MBL experience and permits only well-capitalized credit unions nearing the current cap and with a history of safe and sound business lending to apply to NCUA for authorization to lend up to 27.5 percent of total assets. This bill is similar to the one introduced in the House, the Credit Union Small Business Job Creation Act H.R. 1188 by Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA). That bill has four co-sponsors from Georgia: Rep. Hank Johnson (D-4)Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-2), Rep. Rob Woodall (R-7), and Rep. John Lewis (D-5).

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In-district activity
From left, Sidney Saxon; Mike Johnson, Board Chairman, Augusta Metro FCU; State Rep. Brian Prince; Sherry Saxon, Augusta Metro CEO
In-District CU Connections
with Legislators (Issue 3 of 6)

Growing the relationships that legislators have with the credit union industry is a powerful activity that is needed in advocating for legislative issues. It’s these relationships credit unions have that help open the doors to speak to members of Congress and state legislators. When legislators have an in-district connection with their credit unions back home, it increases the level of influence exponentially. As such, Georgia credit unions have been actively working to build personal connections with their legislators, and support those who understand and support the industry.

One of the most recent in-district connections was on September 15th when Augusta Metro Federal Credit Union and GCUA attended the political event in the district for State Rep. Brian Prince (D-Augusta). Rep. Prince understands firsthand the value of credit unions and has a strong relationship with the industry, as he serves as an associate board member for Augusta Metro FCU. And while there are consistently many state and federal legislators with similar connections to banks, Rep. Prince is one of just four legislators in Georgia who sit on boards of credit unions!

Leading up to the election season in 2016, legislators should be easy to locate in the district at town halls, political events, local chamber meetings, civic groups, and church. When you interact or make a connection with your area legislators, please let us know.

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SurveyYour Voice Is Needed: CU Survey (Issue 4 of 6)

Have two minutes? Take the CU Legislative & Regulatory Survey to help credit union advocacy efforts with legislators and regulators at both the state and federal level. The issues addressed in the short survey reflect just a handful of the issues that will be worked throughout 2016. Your insight and perspective will help shape and articulate the credit union point of view in discussions with decision makers. And while the survey is brief, it closes on September 30th. Share your point of view today! 

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Federal Ruling on Garnishment Law Halts Practice in Gwinnett (Issue 5 of 6)

GavelOn September 8th a ruling was issued from the Northern District of Georgia on garnishments that impacted those issued in Gwinnett County. Judge Marvin Shoob ruled in the case of Tony Strickland v. Richard Alexander, who is the clerk of court for Gwinnett County, that the Georgia garnishment statute was unconstitutional due to its not requiring creditors to tell debtors that some money (such as Social Security, workers’ compensation and welfare) is not eligible to be garnisheed, and not providing an avenue to get back funds that were taken wrongly. After the ruling, the clerk of court for Gwinnett immediately halted garnishments.

While the decision only affects Gwinnett County, many believe this could lead to changes in the state’s garnishment law and in the interim, other counties could see their county clerks of court re-evaluate issuing garnishments. Most attorneys expect the ruling to be appealed, and in the meantime it is anticipated the General Assembly may address the issue when it meets again next year.

For more details please see the attached article from the AJC on the case, and why this ruling could impact the whole state. GCUA continues to work with counsel to review the potential impact of the ruling, and identify avenues to correct this issue.

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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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