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State Senator Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh (center), R-Yucaipa, with California Government Relations Rally (GRR) attendees.
State Senator Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh (center), R-Yucaipa, with California Government Relations Rally (GRR) attendees.

Record Turnout at the California Government Relations Rally

More than 150 credit union leaders from across California descended upon Sacramento this week to hear relevant speakers and lobby for their members during the 2024 California Government Relations Rally (GRR). This year’s event drew a record number of attendees!

You can view all photos here.

Hosted by the California Credit Union League, Monday kicked off with a CEO Roundtable and a Volunteer Leadership Lunch, which led into the Advocacy Programing section of the day. Credit union representatives heard from California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) regulators, Sacramento-based political strategist Chris Tapio, and received an informative update from the Californians for Finance Education’s California Personal Finance Initiative for this November’s statewide ballot.

This year’s GRR programming concluded with a unique legislative-office panel, spotlighting four high-ranking legislative office staff aides. They shared with attendees how to most effectively lobby legislative staff and offices. Credit union leaders received inside advice on best practices to elevate the issues that credit unions are lobbying.

Following the League’s programing, a fundraiser was held for California Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas (D-Salinas). The League and credit union leaders raised nearly $32,000 during this all-attendee reception, capping off the evening with a private dinner fundraiser for California Assembly Banking and Finance Committee Chair Tim Grayson (D-Concord).

Tuesday morning kicked off bright and early with a breakfast briefing, followed by a full day of legislative visits. Attendees lobbied in favor of two financial education bills: Assembly Bill 1871 and Assembly Bill 2927, as well as the League’s state-charter modernization bill (Assembly Bill 2062)

The focus of the League’s meetings was also on credit unions’ strong opposition to Senate Bill 1075, which applies stringent requirements on how state-chartered credit unions offer courtesy overdraft protection services. Lawmakers were reminded that credit unions — as not-for-profit, member-owned cooperatives — were established over 100 years ago to provide financial services to those overlooked by traditional lenders, specializing in serving the underserved.

“We would like to thank all attendees for making the trip to the state capitol,” said Robert Wilson, senior vice president of state government affairs for the League. “Without your support, time, and efforts, we would not be able to make an enormous impact in Sacramento and throughout the state. Thank you for everything you do on behalf of our movement.”

Lobbied Bills
The following bills were lobbied during the California GRR:

Senate Bill 1075 (Steven Bradford): Overdraft and Non-Sufficient Fund Fees:

  • Coauthors: Monique Limón (joint author).
  • SB 1075 imposes stringent requirements on how state-chartered credit unions serve their members who utilize overdraft protection services. The bill limits the number of courtesy overdraft and non-sufficient fund (NSF) transactions to three per month, and mandates a five-day waiting period before a fee can be assessed. It essentially limits a consumer’s access to a financial tool that continues to be desired among credit union members.
  • GRR attendees urged the state legislature to allow the overdraft process at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to play out before continuing conversations on courtesy overdraft or non-sufficient fund transactions.

There were two financial literacy bills: Assembly Bill 1871 (Juan Alanis) and Assembly Bill 2927 (Kevin McCarty):

  • AB 1871 would include personal financial literacy in the adopted course of study for grades 7 – 12 in the social sciences area of study.
  • AB 2927 would require high school students to complete a one-semester course in personal finance as a graduation requirement, beginning with students graduating in the 2029-30 school year, including students attending charter schools. The bill would allow local educational agencies and charter schools to require a full-year course, instead of just one semester, in personal finance at their discretion. The bill would also require local educational agencies and charter schools to begin offering a personal finance course by the 2026-27 school year.
  • Personal Finance Ballot Initiative — Aside from legislation, attendees also brought attention to the California Personal Finance Ballot Initiative. In March, proponents for the ballot initiative submitted enough signatures to qualify for the November 2024 Statewide Ballot. The League endorsed the ballot initiative, which is nearly identical to AB 2927 and would guarantee California high school students a stand-alone, one-semester personal finance course as a graduation requirement, starting with the graduating class of 2030.
  • Credit Union Financial Literacy Programs — Attendees also took time to share how credit unions provide financial education to their members and communities.
  • GRR attendees urged legislator support for AB 1871 and AB 2927, which encourages state efforts to provide all California students with quality and accessible financial education.

Assembly Bill 2062 (Tim Grayson) — Credit Union State Charter Modernization:

  • AB 2062, a League-sponsored bill, makes necessary updates to the state charter and upholds the incentive for state-chartered credit unions to benefit from having a regulator with a local perspective. AB 2062 allows credit unions to keep up with the ever-changing landscape and best serve their members and communities across California.
  • GRR attendees urged legislator support for AB 2062 to allow necessary updates to the credit union state charter.

Regulatory Visits
Regulatory issues included the following:

  • Regulatory Philosophy: Holding Regulators Accountable — Attendees asked that state regulators would ensure they consider credit unions’ unique structure and commitment to serving their members and communities through tailored regulations.
  • Address Right-Sized Rules and So-Called ‘Junk Fees’ — Attendees shared their experiences of gathering positive stories from credit union members, highlighting the advantages of their overdraft protection programs. They shared details about the program itself, outreach efforts to promote responsible usage among members, and any relevant data or statistics demonstrating its effectiveness. They also asked regulators to prevent arbitrary barriers to consumers and businesses that rely on credit unions, and to establish right-sized rules, and differentiate the safe, affordable, and regulated fees charged by depository institutions from the CFPB’s misleading “junk fees” terminology.
  • Digital Currency — Attendees asked that regulators glean from the fact that further information on how credit unions can offer cryptocurrency-related products and services is necessary to maintain parity with other financial institutions.
  • Support Innovation and Emerging Technology — Attendees shared that by fostering collaboration between regulators and credit unions, there can be an established regulatory framework that promotes innovation while allowing credit unions the regulatory flexibility to incorporate innovative technological solutions.
  • Financial Wellbeing and Inclusion — Attendees shared stories from their credit unions’ efforts and successes in promoting financial inclusion and community development, such as providing affordable loans, financial education, and outreach programs. They also asked regulators to remember that credit unions play an important role in providing financial services in the marketplace, especially to low-to-moderate income households.

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