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CUNA To League Meeting: Consumers Want Trusted Financial Partner
DOVER, Del. (5/6/13)--Consumers are yearning for a financial partner they can trust after the banker bailout and that's why the credit union movement's Unite For Good campaign is important, Trey Hawkins of the Credit Union National Association told those attending the Delaware Credit Union League's 55th Annual Meeting and Trade Show.

More than 160 people from 20 credit unions in the state attended the April 18-20 meeting, said the league (Together April 30).

Click to view larger image Credit Union National Association Vice President of Political Affairs Trey Hawkins, in his keynote speech at the Delaware Credit Union League's 55th Annual Meeting and Trade Show, discussed protecting credit unions' tax status, CUNA's Unite for Good campaign, and regulatory burdens. (Photo provided by the Delaware Credit Union League)
Hawkins, CUNA's vice president of political affairs and keynote speaker at the event, outlined the campaign, discussed protecting credit unions' tax exempt status, and told of the "crisis of creeping complexity" in burdensome regulations faced by credit unions.

He reiterated the goals of Unite For Good--CUNA's campaign to rally credit unions toward the strategic vision in which "Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner."  The campaign's goals are: remove barriers, create awareness and foster service excellence.

On the taxation issue, Hawkins warned that people in Washington are focused on what can be done to close the daily-increasing gap between federal spending and tax revenue. The political consensus, he said, seems to favor spending cuts or tax increases as the primary means of reducing the deficit.

Voters prefer stimulating the economy and reducing unemployment, he said, adding that credit unions contribute to the economy by providing loans that help families.

Some Americans do not know credit unions are tax exempt, Hawkins said. Now it is more important than ever to educate members about the exemption--before Congress and banks legislate it away, he added. "Members should know that 'a tax on credit unions is just another tax on people like me.'"

CUNA's Plan To Win can help credit unions both educate their members and prepare for a national call to action to protect the tax status, if needed. The plan includes four steps:

  • Educate;
  • Participate;
  • Communicate; and
  • Hold lawmakers accountable.
The Unite for Good website has action steps to help credit unions in determining how to begin or continue their advocacy. Use the link.

Regulatory burden is a major concern, Hawkins said. Credit unions were subjected to more than 120 regulatory changes from at least 15 federal agencies between 2008 and 2012--before the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau completed its first rule. CUNA recently introduced 35 regulatory relief proposals to Congress to help reduce the economic and compliance burden on credit unions.

Hawkins also discussed credit unions' electoral impact on political candidates, noting that voters were more likely to vote for someone who was a credit union champion--by 2 to 1 and discussed the role of the Credit Union Legislative Action Council in advocacy efforts.
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