WASHINGTON (9/6/11)—Members of Congress returning to Washington this month will find around 450 credit union representatives from more than 20 states ready and eager to cover the credit union difference, and key issues, during the 2011 edition of the Credit Union National Association’s Hike the Hill. Credit union advocates from across the country will cover member business lending, alternative capital, the regulatory burdens faced by credit unions, credit unions’ tax status, and other related topics during these meetings, which will take place between Sept. 14 and Oct. 12. "Whether here in Washington or at home in their districts, it’s critical that lawmakers hear firsthand, and year-round, from their credit union constituents about credit union issues," CUNA Senior Vice President of Political Affairs Richard Gose said. "Hike the Hill plays an important role in this dialogue and we're excited to have such great participation this fall." Credit unions and the leagues have also launched an all-out effort during Congress’s August district work session to make contact on key credit union issues. The list of hikers is scheduled to include Alabama and Florida credit unions, accompanied by the League of Southeastern Credit Unions. League President/CEO Patrick La Pine said his delegation will cover “what credit unions are doing in the current economic conditions as well as real life examples of how credit unions are helping consumers, and helping small businesses. La Pine’s delegation is scheduled to visit with House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) and Senate Banking Committee Ranking Minority Member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), among others. “We will ask our members of Congress to allow credit unions to be a greater part of the economic recovery, specifically by increasing the MBL limit, which is a win-win for the economy that won’t cost taxpayers a dime while helping small businesses,” La Pine said. The Montana Credit Union Network will meet with another member of the Senate Banking Committee, Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and will thank Tester for his strong support of credit unions during this spring’s debit interchange fee cap debate. Ohio Credit Union League Vice President of Governmental Affairs John Florian said the D.C. visit gives his group an excellent opportunity to “firm up strong relationships with Ohio members of Congress,” including Sen. Sherrod Brown (D), Sen. Rob Portman, who is a member of the Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, and Rep. Patrick Tiberi (R), who serves on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Aside from the standard credit union advocacy that comes with every year’s Hill hike, Dan Schline, North Carolina Credit Union League senior vice president of association services, said that this year presents a new opportunity for the many new staffers at the league. “This trip will be a good opportunity for them to develop relationships with some of the new Hill staffers handling financial services issues for our congressional members, and to educate those Hill staffers on the basics of credit unions and our issues,” he added. Credit union groups have also planned visits with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the National Credit Union Administration. Leagues and credit union representatives from Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming are also scheduled to travel to D.C. by the time this year’s hike is over. For more on CUNA’s 2011 Hike the Hill, use the resource link.