A dozen advocates from Central VA this morning met with 10 legislators or aides as part of the ongoing CU Days at the General Assembly this year. One impromptu meeting even took place in the hallway as Tim Schmoyer of Park View ran into Del. Tony Wilt, the patron of a bill that responds to credit union concerns by excluding financial education from a list of other graduation requirements the delegate wants postponed for implementation.
The visits were particularly heartfelt because of the participation of two state-chartered credit unions, DuPont Community and UVA Community. The League’s legislation this year, which has successfully navigated its way through the House and Senate without opposition, would streamline bylaw changes for state-chartered credit unions.
Advocates took advantage of the meetings to educate lawmakers on the contributions credit unions are making to their members and communities, or regulatory issues that concern them. Suzanne Hodgins of UVA Community and League vice chairwoman cited her credit union’s financial literacy outreach program in addition to UVA’s offering tax preparation services to low income individuals.
John Beiler, CEO of Park View, noted that his credit union cannot meet the member business lending needs of his membership because of the federal cap on MBLs. He said the loans Park View make are too small for banks … $50,000 to $500,000. He asked Del. Todd Gilbert, deputy House Majority Leader, to talk with his federal Republican counterparts to support legislation to increase the MBL cap. “It will make a real difference in the lives of your constituents,” he said.
House Minority Leader David Toscano praised credit unions for doing foreclosures the right way, and that any legislation filed on the issue weren’t about credit union practices. Del. Toscano had also worked with UVA Community through his United Way participation to help develop UVA’s tax preparation service. This is a great example of how credit unions’ community work boosts our political involvement activities.
The final visit of the morning was with Del. Steve Landes, who oversees community relations for DuPont. He cited the credit union philosophy of “people helping people” as a key reason why his credit union has accommodated his legislative schedule. He warned advocates that “the credit union industry has to be more competitive with the bankers” when it comes to political involvement because the bankers’ goal is to convert credit unions into banks. When Park View’s Beiler talked of the MBL issue, Del. Landes noted that he had written to Congressmen Bob Goodlatte and Robert Hurt last year urging them to support the bill to raise the cap. He promised he would mention the issue again to his fellow Republican Congressmen. “It’s always good to remind them in an election year,” he said.