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|Graduates of the Winter 2015 CU Development Educators Training stand with training staff at the American Airlines Training & Conference Center in Dallas, Texas.|
|At Credit Union House near Capitol Hill (L-R): Teresa Freeborn, Chairman of the California Credit Union League and CEO of Xceed Financial FCU; Diana Dykstra, President and CEO of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues; Rep. Brad Sherman, D-CA; Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-CA; Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-CA; and Bill Cheney, President and CEO of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA)|
GAC—which is the largest gathering of credit union professionals, with nearly 4,500 attending this year—is held annually by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). This year, almost 200 came from California and Nevada.
Wednesday’s “Hike the Hill” visits proved invaluable as leaders discussed how their credit unions are actively working in lawmakers’ communities to better families and individuals through the credit union philosophy.
Several members of Congress were available to sit down and discuss the industry’s most important issues—first and foremost, why credit unions should remain exempt from federal corporate income tax, as well as other hot topics. Legislators and their staff aides noted the accomplishments of credit unions with respect to financial literacy and modifying members’ loans during the financial crisis and recession.
Many lawmakers who are brand new to Capitol Hill showed their support for credit unions, saying they understood the unique role the movement plays within the financial services industry.
Besides issues at the forefront of 2014, key topics brought to the attention of legislators included extending the credit union lending cap (H.R. 688, the Credit Union Small Business Jobs Creation Act), supplemental capital (H.R. 719, the Capital Access for Small Businesses and Jobs Act), and requesting the Government Accountability Office to study Regulation D (H.R. 3240, the Regulation D Study Act).
The following California legislators spoke on stage during the GAC’s general session on Tuesday and Wednesday, reiterating their support for credit unions: Reps. Ed Royce, R-CA; Linda Sanchez, D-CA; Brad Sherman, D-CA; House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-CA; and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-CA.
Issa called on congressional leaders to strengthen cybersecurity rules without mandating additional regulatory burdens on credit unions. Royce announced he will be introducing new member business lending (MBL) legislation—the Credit Union Residential Loan Parity Act—that would exempt loans for non-owner occupied one-to-four-unit dwellings from the current MBL cap on credit unions. Additionally, McCarthy delivered a dynamic speech about the role credit unions play in America's prosperity.
It was also announced on Wednesday that the credit union tax status was left untouched in a tax reform plan released by the House Ways and Means Committee.
Additionally, credit union CEOs, executives, board members, and other guests attending the Credit Union House reception Wednesday night enjoyed visits and speeches from Royce, Sherman, and Reps. Raul Ruiz, D-CA; Eric Swalwell, D-CA; Doug LaMalfa, R-CA; candidate Pete Aguilar; and CUNA President and CEO Bill Cheney, who thanked California and Nevada credit unions for making the trip.
“Many attendees were encouraged by the positive feedback they received from lawmakers at every visit,” said Diana Dykstra, president and CEO of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues. “The individual stories from credit unions really stood out and especially grabbed the attention of some legislators who are brand new to Congress. Thank you to those who participated—and to those of you at home who sent your staff and volunteers.”