JUNE 3, 2016
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Cake Credit Union Impact on GA Primary Elections (Issue 1 of 5)
The impact of credit union people's involvement in the recent Georgia primary elections was magnified by the lower voter turnout, resulting in more influence for the industry.

  CFPB Payday Proposal Released (Issue 2 of 5)
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released its rule on short-term, small-dollar lending, a measure on which credit union advocates have been working to mitigate its impact on the industry's consumer-friendly loan products.

  In-District Connections Between Legislators and Credit Unions (Issue 3 of 5)
In-district activities, especially those involving personal relationships between legislators and credit union people in their districts, help build legislative influence on behalf of credit unions in general.

  Tools for Your Credit Union (Issue 4 of 5)
ElectionWatch, GCUA's nonpartisan election information resource, offers several valuable tools credit unions can use to keep their members informed about candidates and issues, and help them participate in the political process.

  Credit Unions in the News (Issue 5 of 5)
The credit union message continues to spread, as evidenced by coverage of the industry in a wide range of media outlets, from newspapers to magazines to the broadcast media.

Georgia voterCredit Union Impact
on GA Primary Elections
(Issue 1 of 5)

The primary elections held very few surprises, with the majority of the incumbents winning by strong margins across the board. The turnout for the primaries, however, was notably light; under 20 percent of all Georgia voters cast a ballot. Credit union efforts in the elections held significantly high influence when one considers how few people voted, making the campaign work and PAC funds contributed all the more influential for the industry. Please click here to see the summary of the elections from the perspective of credit unions.

Credit unions made an impact on the elections through ElectionWatch to encourage voter turnout among staff, board and members. They built influence and changed the course of races through the PAC funds raised for political donations, donating to 15 federal races and 112 state races. And, they assisted campaigns with physical “boots on the ground” efforts. Credit unions along with GCUA staff provided coordinated support for U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, State Rep. Brooks Coleman, State Rep. Tom Dickson, and State Rep. Brett Harrell. All of these candidates in the primary successfully move forward, with the race for Rep. Dickson advancing to a runoff. Our thanks go to the credit union individuals from Associated CU, Atlanta Postal CU, Georgia’s Own CU, Georgia United CU, Hallco Community CU, North Georgia CU, Peach State FCU, Platinum FCU, and Rome Kraft FCU for engaging in physical campaign activity for these candidates. And, a special recognition goes out to United 1st FCU for proactively engaging in a local judicial race for a member!

We encourage credit unions to take advantage of the election season and the opportunities it provides to engage in physical campaign efforts. It can make a difference not only in an election, but also in the ability to shape the issues that become law.

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CFPB logoCFPB Payday Proposal Released (Issue 2 of 5)

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on June 2nd released its short-term, small-dollar lending rule, an issue in which credit unions have been working to help mitigate any impacts to current lending operations. CUNA has been pushing the CFPB to tailor its rulemaking specifically to bad actors in the financial marketplace to protect credit union products and services, particularly in anticipation of other forthcoming bureau rules. CUNA has repeatedly urged the CFPB that the rule should not address NCUA Payday Alternative Loan (PAL) or similar state charter programs, as they are responsible loan products provided by credit unions to serve their members, and not add any additional regulatory burdens to consumer-friendly small-dollar loans. It appears that these types of loans will be exempted; however, the rule is being analyzed as of press time to determine how and if credit union products are affected.

This work has been ongoing this year; readers of Creating Influence will recall the efforts from credit unions, CUNA and Leagues that helped garner Congressional support on a letter calling for the CFPB to tailor certain regulations for credit unions and other small financial institutions. In total, 329 members of Congress signed the letter and 100 percent of the Georgia congressional delegation, emphasizing the need to not burden credit unions with regulations aimed at other players in the financial marketplace. Stay tuned; more details are forthcoming as the rule is studied.

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From left: Sebie Lacey-Strato; State Rep. Shaw Blackmon; John Rhea, CEO, Robins Financial CU; Greg McCanless, CEO of United Way of Central GA; Ken Babbitt, Board Member, Robins Financial CU
Ribbon cutting
Center, holding scissors: State Sen. Rick Jeffares and Debbie Smith, Georgia United CU
In-District Connections Between
Legislators and Credit Unions
(Issue 3 of 5)

A key factor in the ability to influence legislators is to have strong relationships with many elected officials, from federal to state, Republican to Democrat, leadership to those individuals coming up in the ranks. And when a legislator has an in-district connection to credit unions – a personal relationship with someone in credit unions – it carries much more influence on issues. Why? When legislators connect an issue with an individual from 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 Monday, May 23rd Robins Financial CU represented CUPAC at an in-district political event golf tournament for State Rep. Shaw Blackmon (R-Bonaire). The 2016 session was Rep. Blackmon’s first legislative year, as he won the special election to replace previous Majority Leader Larry O’Neal, who had resigned mid-term. Blackmon came into the legislature with a strong relationship with credit unions due to a key-contact relationship already in existence with Christina O’Brien, VP of Robins Financial CU. This type of connection is extremely beneficial in lobbying efforts to shape issues.
  • On Wednesday, June 1st, Georgia United CU hosted State Senator Rick Jeffares (R-McDonough) along with multiple local officials at their grand opening of a the full-time student-run branch located inside the Academy of Advanced Studies in Henry County. The elected officials on hand were able to learn more about how credit unions are helping youth learn strong financial habits and gain work skills through the partnership developed in McDonough. This type of connection helps grow the understanding of credit unions and creates a connection!

During the summer months many legislators hold in-district events (or attend events in the community) to connect with their constituents. Keep an eye out for opportunities to engage; when credit unions connect personally with their legislators in the district, it widens the grassroots connections the industry has and grows legislative influence.

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ToolsTools for Your Credit Union
(Issue 4 of 5)

There is a wide variety of tools available on ElectionWatch for credit unions to engage in the elections and encourage staff and members to vote in the upcoming July 26th runoff and the November general election:

  • Newsletter articles on the importance of voting, and building general awareness of the elections.
  • Social media messages to weave into your credit union’s Twitter or Facebook rotation.
  • Website banners to have an orchestrated visual of encouraging members to vote.
  • On-hold messages to rotate on your credit union’s voicemail system – powerful the week leading up to an election.

Ever curious about how legislators stand on issues of importance to the industry? Here you can find out how each of the 236 state legislators voted on the top bills of credit union interest in the 2016 session, and here for how federal legislators stand on credit union issues. During the last election cycle there were credit unions that shared this level of detail with their boards and staff to help encourage voter turnout in key races, and illustrate how elected leaders impact what credit unions can do today and in the future.

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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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