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Southside Chapter Wraps Up January CU Days

Jan 24, 2014 by Lewis Wood

Fort Lee and People’s Advantage swept through the General Assembly Building Jan. 23, visiting their delegation members or their aides.

Fort Lee and People’s Advantage swept through the General Assembly Building on Thursday visiting their delegation members or their aides.

The morning started with visiting Del. Rosalyn Dance in her committee meeting room before the panel started business, thanking her for her past support.

Next up was House Majority Leader Kirk Cox. Representatives from the credit unions updated Cox on how they are helping their members and their communities. For instance, People’s Advantage CEO Audrey Bollinger said her credit union is seeing the largest growing in membership in 20 years “because we are serving the person that the banks don’t want to serve. That’s our niche.”

One way People’s Advantage serves that niche is by offering short-term loans that require just proof of job as a way to provide an alternative to payday lenders.

Fort Lee CEO Patsy Stuard said her credit union offers small loans opportunities for Black Friday and summer. Membership is all that is needed to obtain the $500 loan, which needs to be repaid over six months. She said for Black Friday there was a line out the door for the loan.

She and her staff also talked about Fort Lee offering financial literacy seminars for the community, and teaching people how to properly search for a job with a good resume, professional appearance, and tips on taking advantage of jobs fairs.

When told that the League was monitoring the legislation on reforming the Standards of Learning (SOLs), Cox said the financial literacy component is not being targeted.

The credit union advocates took their message to Sen. Henry Marsh, who had earlier been visited by the bankers. Marsh urged his CU constituents, “You have to keep fighting. You can’t stop. You’re preaching to the choir with me. When I ask the bankers when are they going to make small loans, they say they’re working on it. I’m with you but you have to go to a lot of people who don’t see the light.”

Del. Joe Morrissey said he likes the business model of credit unions …. No shareholders. “Anything I can do to help you I will,” he told the group.

League staff spent Wednesday and Thursday delivering packets of information to lawmakers whose scheduled meetings with constituents were canceled when the chapters couldn’t make the trip to Richmond due to weather. We especially appreciate Blue Eagle and Freedom First providing special handouts to localize the League’s packet.

League staff also met with freshman Del. Terry Austin. He, too, had been visited by the bankers earlier in the session. He didn’t know much about credit unions and learned about how the  not-for-profit status allows  credit unions to do what banks cannot or will not do. He also read the material from Freedom First and noted that he had been invited to visit the branch in his district.  

Thank you to the Southside, Tidewater and Hampton Roads chapters for making your CU Day appointments despite the weather. The only chapter left for a CU Day is NoVA, scheduled for Feb. 5.

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