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CUNA Chair Mercer Bids Farewell, Cheney Highlights CUNA Priorities

WASHINGTON (2/26/13)--Outgoing Credit Union National Association Chairman Mike Mercer urged credit union leaders to continue fighting for legislative issues critical to credit unions, while CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney highlighted CUNA's priorities for 2013 at CUNA's 79th Annual General Meeting.

Outgoing CUNA Chairman Mike Mercer, who is president/CEO of Georgia Credit Union Affiliates, called for more collaboration among credit unions during CUNA's 79th Annual General Meeting. (CUNA photo)

The AGM was held at CUNA's Governmental Affair's Conference, which runs through Thursday in Washington, D.C.

Credit unions must be willing to cooperate with each other, said Mercer, who is president/CEO Georgia Credit Union Affiliates.

One initiative on which they can collaborate is CUNA's "Unite for Good," a strategic vision unveiled by CUNA's Cheney earlier in the morning. (See related story this issue.)

In Cheney's address to the AGM, the CUNA leader reiterated that CUNA's No. 1 priority for 2013 is preserving credit unions' tax exemption. That emphasis reflects the Obama administration's focus on tax issues, he said. Cheney urged GAC attendees to take up that cause with their Congress members in the Capitol Hill visits while in Washington this week.  "We have a great story to tell we just need to be prepared to tell it," Cheney said.

Reducing regulatory burden is also a priority for CUNA. The association has worked with the National Credit Union Administration, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Department of Treasury to express concerns on behalf of credit unions. CUNA's enhanced weekly Regulatory Advocacy Report summarizes key issues and is available free to CUNA members.

Cheney said enhancing the credit union charter remains a top priority for the association. He noted that the 113th Congress will address capital reform. "We want those reforms to include capital access options as well as risk-based options," Cheney said.

CUNA's goal is to push MBL legislation "beyond the five-yard line" in 2013. In February, Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) reintroduced legislation that would increase the credit union MBL cap to 27.5% from the current 12.25% of assets. The bill, if enacted, would help credit unions lend an additional $14.5 billion to small business in the first year, and help small businesses created more than 158,000 new jobs.

Under the direction of new CUNA Executive Vice President of Strategic Communications and Engagement Paul Gentile, CUNA will focus on strengthening communications in 2013. CUNA has launched The Cheney Report, which offers the CUNA president's latest thoughts on three to four key events and policy developments affecting credit unions into the e-mail inboxes of credit union CEOs each Friday.

CUNA is also working with the American Association of Credit Union Leagues to improve credit unions' political effectiveness, Cheney said. "We need you get out of the stands and on field to help us win for credit unions," he said. "We need you involved with your local officials in every way possible."



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