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League members at GAC.

League Sessions at GAC Fuel Attendees’ Momentum & Advocacy

From the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues’ briefings and meetings to other onsite events and activities, the 2024 Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) hosted by America’s Credit Unions (ACU) included something for everyone who came to Washington, D.C. this week.

Throughout Monday to Wednesday, the Leagues’ Advocacy 101, Trivia Night, Mentors and Mentees, and Social Impact sessions provided 300 attendees from California and Nevada a well-rounded week as they collaborated with nearly 6,000 leaders, professionals, and advocates from across the country to make the industry’s voice heard on Capitol Hill.

The Leagues were honored to have Francisco Camacho (branch manager for Greater Nevada CU), Angela Capoccia (manager of financial risk for SchoolsFirst FCU), Malissa Enterrios (senior manager of enterprise risk and control for Kinecta FCU), Denise Gomez (service manager for Bay FCU), and Andrea Mitchell (branch service specialist for Inland Valley FCU) as GAC “Crashers.” This group of elite emerging credit union leaders from California and Nevada participated in The Cooperative Trust’s award-winning Crash program. While this year marks the 15th “Crash the GAC” event and is supported by the Filene Research Institute, it’s also the first to be hosted by America’s Credit Unions. ACU generously covered the registration costs for dozens of these young professionals from across the nation to attend the largest industry event of the year.

Also up for grabs was a grand prize winner of the Credit Union Legislative Action Council’s (CULAC) 2024 GAC Grand Sweepstakes. During every GAC, this momentous event that garners increasing excitement and attention throughout the week raises funds to support credit union-friendly lawmakers and candidates, boosting CULAC’s advocacy outreach over the long term. Stay tuned — results will be announced soon.

Whether it was raising money for the credit union cause or discussing how they would make a positive impact on Capitol Hill regarding what the movement accomplishes for their communities, advocates from California and Nevada relished their time together during a pivotal moment in our nation’s history. It was also “Super Tuesday” primary-election voting day on Tuesday, which added momentum to the week. ACU’s PAC (Political Action Committee) is supporting 85 legislative candidates nationwide to amplify the credit union cause and message, with 46 candidates hailing from California.

These events sharpened League-members’ advocacy strategy as they prepared to meet face to face with legislators from their local congressional districts, staff aides, and federal regulatory officials. Beyond the movement’s philosophical message, California and Nevada credit union professionals used their networking time and valuable League meetings to hone their message on a variety of legislative and regulatory talking points with congressional leaders and policymakers.

In tandem, League leaders and ACU remained active on Capitol Hill, monitoring several hearings relevant to the industry, including:

  • Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s appearance before the House Financial Services Committee.
  • A House Financial Services Committee hearing to review the impact of politicized financial regulation on consumer credit and community development.
  • Powell’s appearance before the Senate Banking Committee.
  • A Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Credit Union Advisory Council meeting.

The Leagues’ briefings and activities, combined with GAC’s general sessions and breakouts, made one fact clear on Capitol Hill: credit unions are growing and innovating because they continue to be a financial partner that consumers trust. Recently, attacks by banks and banking trade associations have reinvigorated credit union supporters as they broadcast to Congress the power behind the fundamentals of the cooperative financial model this week. Credit union advocates made it known that hard-working Americans trust credit unions to provide safe, affordable financial services and products — a mission and structure that lifts consumers and households, ensuring their financial success, as well as benefits to surrounding communities and non-credit union members.

Nationwide, credit union members benefitted from more than $21.5 billion in economic benefits over the 12 months ending in September 2023, according to a recent analysis by ACU. In fact, non-members received billions more in benefits due to credit unions’ presence in the financial services marketplace.

The Leagues’ advocacy team and ACU mainstage speakers reminded GAC attendees that credit union advocacy part science, part art. It is defined by engagement, relationship building, grassroots strength, campaigns, data, and timing. It requires the right agenda — and this agenda comes straight from credit unions and the needs of their members. In partnership with the Leagues, building a unified voice and successful advocacy strategy in the judicial, legislative, and regulatory realms elevates the California and Nevada credit union movement to new heights each year during and after GAC.

The Leagues would like to thank EVERYONE who traveled from California and Nevada to our nation’s capitol this week to advocate on behalf of their credit unions and members at GAC. We want to see credit unions thrive today — and well into the future. Thank you!

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