DECEMBER 16, 2016
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Happy Holidays!
Creating Influence will not be published on December 30. Publication will resume with the January 13, 2017 issue.

Future Paving the Way for Regulatory Relief (Issue 1 of 5)
As a new administration and Congress prepare to assume power in Washington, D.C., credit union advocates need to seize the moment to demonstrate to their elected officials the continuing need for relief from burdensome regulations.

  2016 Georgia Grassroots Efforts (Issue 2 of 5)
Georgia credit union advocacy activity took many forms in 2016, and resulted in stronger influence by the industry on the elected officials whose legislation affects credit union operations.

  10 Issues to Watch in 2017 State Session (Issue 3 of 5)
When it convenes on January 9, the Georgia General Assembly will have hundreds of issues to consider, including at least 10 of particular interest to the credit union industry.

  End of Year Advocacy (Issue 4 of 5)
December is a busy month in many ways, but GCUA's advocacy efforts have continued despite the year-end rush, as evidenced by numerous meetings with elected officials and regulators in advance of the coming legislative session.

  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.

pavingPaving the Way for Regulatory Relief (Issue 1 of 5)

Seeking relief from the regulatory burden coming out of Washington, D.C., is not a new talking point for credit unions. Georgia credit unions have been expressing the need to rein in excessive regulations that are hurting the industry with their members of Congress at Hike the Hill meetings, Hike at Home meetings, at town halls, and regular discussions between regulators and GCUA as well as consistent dialogue and lobbying by CUNA. Meanwhile, the spigot of regulations continues to be felt at credit unions.

What is new, however, is the level of change potentially shaking up multiple agencies from the presidential election, as well as a large amount of uncertainty of what the priorities will be for Congress and how they will react. In this environment of uncertainty, there is the opportunity to position one’s legislative needs. As such, CUNA, Leagues and credit unions are seizing this time to push for regulatory reform. This push will be multi-faceted, and all of the work credit unions have put forth in educating their members of Congress and building relationships is instrumental in this effort. Watch for this talking point to be heightened for those at the GAC as it is a top priority for the entire system in the year ahead. And just in case you think your involvement isn’t important - we recently heard that the House Freedom Caucus sent the Trump transition team a report on rules and regulations that can be repealed in the first 100 days of the Trump administration, a whopping 228 of them. Of interest to credit unions is repealing the new MBL regulations (that is supported by credit unions). Another reason why we all have to be watchful and active to see what steps Congress and the Administration make starting in January 2017.

During the GAC members of Congress will see credit unions push even harder for relief. If you have not registered yet, please consider doing so to illustrate the importance of removing regulatory barriers to Congress. Georgia has a room block at the Embassy Suites hotel near the Convention Center. If you are interested in attending, please reach out to either Becky Moore,, or Cindy Connelly,, for a housing form. For more information on the GAC itself please click here.

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2016 Georgia Grassroots Efforts (Issue 2 of 5)

The 2016 year is almost at a close, with a wide variety of legislative and political issues in Congress and in the state Legislature already solidifying for 2017 (much less 2018!). In the tumultuous environment where issues are debated, weighed and put into law, the credit union industry’s ability to grow and wield influence in the legislative arena is vital to the operations of each and every institution. And credit union influence is developed by building relationships with elected leaders, sharing perspective on bills, and putting a local in-district face on the industry. This does not happen by accident; it takes strategy, time, and continual effort. And in 2016, credit unions across Georgia significantly moved the needle with this to help grow legislative influence for the industry. In 2016 there were:

1612 In-District Hike at Home Meetings with 16 Legislators:

Included are three chapters that hosted legislators and key Congressional staff during the year: Augusta Chapter, Chattahoochee Valley Chapter and the South Georgia Chapter.

130130+ People at 3 Hike the Hill Events in Washington, D.C.:

  • 110 credit union leaders from 26 credit unions attended the GAC in February,
  • 20 credit union leaders from 16 credit unions in September at the Hike the Hill, and a
  • Senior GCUA staff visit with key legislators in June.

66 Orchestrated Election Efforts Involving 10 Credit Unions:

Credit unions who engaged in the physical campaign assistance efforts were Associated CUAtlanta
Postal CU, Georgia’s Own CU, Georgia United CU, Hallco Community CU, MembersFirst CU, North Georgia CU, Peach State FCU, Platinum FCU, and Rome Kraft FCU. And, a special recognition goes out to United 1st FCU for proactively engaging in a local judicial race for a member! Two highlights from the elections efforts by credit unions:

  • Partisan communications mailer effort connected Rep. Collins to almost 50,000 credit union members in the district.
  • Over 2,300 calls were placed by 27 volunteers from credit unions in the above phone bank nights.

12Credit Unions Engaged in 10 In-District Political Events for 12 Legislators:

And last but not least, there were 160+ political events attended in person by the GCUA lobbying team! All of the above helps grow the level of influence credit unions have; thank you to all for being involved in 2016, and we look forward to continuing this growth in 2017.

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10 Issues to Watch in 2017 State Session (Issue 3 of 5)

LegislatureThe Georgia General Assembly begins a new session on January 9th, and GCUA has been engaged in multiple hearings, informal working groups, and coalitions to help identify and shape the issues that are likely to arise in 2017. There will be hundreds more issues and bills to arise, but below are 10 items of credit union interest already anticipated:

  • Operational Improvements to Credit Union Charter: During the summer months there was a credit union task force dedicated specifically to generate ideas for potential improvements to credit union state law. They along with GCUA have been working with the DBF to obtain legislative improvements to reduce compliance burdens.
  • Operation Choke Point Reactions in State: GCUA has heard that gun dealers will return with their bill from last year to shield firearms dealers from perceived financial discrimination. Significant work will be needed to ensure that the amendments that were obtained in the last bill to protect credit unions will be included in the new bill.
  • Wire Transfer Fees: There will be a legislative attempt to place a fee on all wire transfers, have the financial institution collect and then remit. GCUA has already been in discussions with the legislator pursing this issue, and work continues.
  • Payments Issues, Chip-and-PIN Mandates: Merchants continue to push for chip-and-PIN mandates, the Fintech industry is seeking incentives, and there will be a continued push to try to limit access to state benefit programs, which the previous bills on this topic wrapped in ATM access. All of these issues will require regular monitoring and lobbying to protect credit unions.
  • Cybersecurity: There have been multiple hearings in the off session dedicated toward crafting potential cyber security/data security legislation. It appears that they will look at addressing data held on state systems, but credit unions will need to be on constant watch for changes that would add compliance burdens.
  • Foreclosures/Required Upkeep and Notification of Neglected Properties: A perennial issue, however, this year GCUA has learned that there will be an attempt to address blighted properties and/or animal control issues in foreclosed homes. Stay tuned.
  • Liens (Tax Liens, Lien Registries, HOA/Condo Association Superseding Attempts): For the past several sessions there have been attempts from other industries to supersede the priority lien status of credit unions and other financial institutions with real property. This issue is anticipated to return in 2017, and in addition there has been interest in creating a statewide lien registry that will need to be monitored to protect against operational compliance issues.
  • Prized-Linked Savings Accounts: GCUA has been a part of an early dialogue to look at the possibility of prized-linked savings accounts in Georgia, and what the legislation should encompass.
  • Elder Abuse/Power of Attorney Reform: There will be a legislative effort at the state level to reform the power of attorney statute and how financial institutions handle them, and a hearing is already scheduled for the first week of January on this topic.
  • State Tax Changes: During the off session there were multiple hearings on tax reform, and GCUA anticipates there to be multiple bills introduced on adjustments the tax law in GA, as well as how TAVT (auto tax) is handled.

In addition, there are a myriad of issues anticipated to be pushed by other industries that will need to be monitored closely to ensure there is no "collateral impact" or implication on credit unions and their operations (such as insurance issues, motor vehicle issues, etc.). There will also be large statewide topics like religious freedom, campus carry, education reform, healthcare issues, and expanded legalized gambling that will take up significant time in the Legislature. And with many legislators already positioning themselves for higher office campaign runs in the 2018 elections, this will impact what can be done or where power lies and what is accomplished. Stay tuned!

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WatchEnd of Year Advocacy (Issue 4 of 5)

It’s December, a month that’s perpetually filled with professional and personal obligations for everyone, as well as a laundry list of things to finalize before the end of the year arrives. Yet building grassroots influence for credit unions is an effort that is continual - just in the past two weeks GCUA has been engaged in a wide range of advocacy efforts leading up to 2017:

  • Developing relationships with multiple legislators and lobbyists at the state legislative biennial training on December 4th and 5th,
  • Convening with the CEOs and lobbying teams of the financial industry trade organizations in person on December 7th to discuss the legislative issues that impact all financial institutions,
  • Meeting with State Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer (R-Duluth), key DBF staff and financial industry partners on December 8th to craft ideas for potential legislation for 2017,
  • Visiting with State Representative Susan Holmes (R-Monticello) in the district on December 10th to strengthen the relationship,
  • Growing connections at the December 12th reception for U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-6),
  • Joining with real estate coalition partners on December 13th to gain insight into what other legislation may arise in 2017, and
  • Meeting with Governor Nathan Deal on December 15th to keep credit union interests at the forefront and continue the relationship building.

ArrowOne of the things that you do to grow grassroots influence is to tee up your registration for the state governmental affairs day for credit unions - the 2017 Grassroots Academy! This all-day grassroots immersion held downtown in and around the Capitol focuses on the legislative issues, environment and people that alter how credit unions operate. It will be held on January 24th - please click here for details on the event and how to reserve your place!

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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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