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News Now

Washington
Mecham CUs need to advocate for CUs
WASHINGTON (2/25/09)—Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Chairman Kris Mecham told Government Affairs Conference participants that the Washington, D.C. meeting offers credit unions the opportunity to prove they can contribute more to getting the economy on track. He encouraged credit unions to join CUNA and the leagues in their advocacy work and help tell the credit union story on Capitol Hill. The traditional visits to Congressional offices, in conjunction with the GAC, are especially important this year, he said. Mecham said credit unions must stress the stability of the credit union system in the midst of the current turmoil, and the fact that Congress can help the system make an even larger contribution. ‘We do have a story to tell,” he added. “We are the solution. We are not broken. We should stress that we want their support.” Mecham said a perfect example was the current federal limit on credit union member business lending, at a time when a capital crunch was one of the big causes of the current economic tensions. “With a mere stroke of a pen, we have the ability to put millions of dollars into the economy,” he added, referring CUNA’s efforts to get a legislative change. Mecham also said members must stress during the Capitol Hill visits credit union opposition to legislation that would allow bankruptcy judges to rewrite mortgage contracts—the so-called “cramdown” bill. A House vote is expected Thursday. He said the bill would only interfere with the traditional time-honored credit union process of negotiating loans with members suffering financial setbacks. The chairman, newly installed to that position, stressed that credit unions visits have a special influence on Congress because the politicians often react positively to grassroots lobbying efforts. “Ask yourself during this meeting,” Mecham told the conferees, “What have I done to promote advocacy. If we do that, we will be and important part of the overall solution.”


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