Removing Barriers Blog

That One Thing...

At a meeting this week, a League colleague asked me, “If there were just one thing a credit union could do this summer to help you, Ryan, what would it be?”

I didn’t need to think long about the answer: “Get their Member of Congress into the credit union for a visit.”

We are into that period of the Congressional cycle when even less is happening in Washington than usual.  With the party conventions earlier than usual this year, Congress is preparing in a few weeks to shut down for seven consecutive weeks – perhaps the longest recess I have seen in my professional career – and Members of Congress who haven’t had much to do in Washington will be home looking for things to do and people to meet. 

There is no better opportunity to show Congress what regulatory burden and the credit union difference look like than when Congress comes to your credit union.  When your Representatives meet your members, they see the good work you’re doing to serve your community; when they meet your board, they understand how the cooperative principles are at work at the credit union; when they meet your staff, they get a sense of the amount of time credit unions spend working for the government rather than serving their members.

A credit union visit is a win for your Representative as well -- they are, after all, in the business of meeting constituents and earning their vote.  Members of Congress have terrific local staffs whose job it is to keep them connected to their local community.  They’re visiting all sorts of businesses and organizations – why not credit unions?  

Over the years, a number of credit unions have open their doors to Members and candidates.  As we approach a new Congress and a new Administration, our efforts will benefit from a more deliberate effort to make this happen across the country.  Your credit union would be perfect for just such a visit. 

The time is now to start planning for a visit from your Representative or Senator, and I promise it is not hard to do and you won’t be sorry that you did it.  Start by reaching out to the district office and talk with a field representative or the district director; dropping an email to the staffer you met at the GAC or during a Hike the Hill; or touching base with your League and see if they can help arrange the visit.  The more Members of Congress we get through the doors of credit unions, the easier our case will be to make on Capitol Hill.

That one thing that would help us in advocacy this summer is for you to invite a Member of Congress to your credit union.  

--Ryan Donovan