Credit union advocates representing Hampton Roads and Tidewater swept through the General Assembly Tuesday morning, thanking lawmakers for their support of our two parity bills that have passed both the House and the Senate without opposition. The House and Senate bills will switch chambers and run the legislative gauntlet again next month when Crossover Day occurs. Board members Stan Leicester and Karen Orie joined BayPort CEO and CULAC Trustee George Dudley and the incoming chairman of the League’s Governmental Affairs Committee, Mike Flanary, were among the 25 advocates making visits on Tuesday. Because our bills have sailed through the legislative process so far, there was plenty of time for CU advocates to educate the lawmakers on what credit unions do to help their members and communities. When Del. Gordon Helsel heard about credit unions making microloans from $100 to $3,000, he exclaimed, “I had no idea this was going on!” Hampton Roads Educators CEO Karen Orie said most of her credit union’s loans are $3,000 or less. Representatives from Langley, BayPort and Newport News Municipal ECU also talked of the second component of small loans: financial education. NNM requires a savings program for those taking out their payday loan alternative. Langley has free financial education counseling. Flanary of 1st Advantage talked of the statewide financial literacy effort by credit unions. Orie and Diane Nortness of Langley FCU also talked about the school branches their credit unions offer. On another stop, Del. Rick Morris said, “I’m a fan” of credit unions; he’s a Navy FCU member. BayPort’s Leicester told him of the FoolProof program the credit union offers for financial literacy education, and noted, too, that the credit union combines financial education with microloans to wean people from payday lending. He said so far BayPort has converted 3,000 from payday loans to lines of credit. “We don’t make money on that,” he said. Del. David Yancey started off the meeting saying he was interested in how teachers can learn how to teach financial literacy. The answer: credit unions offer programs for teachers to learn about the different services out there to bring financial literacy into the classroom. Langley and BayPort said they also offer grants to teachers so they could attend classes on teaching financial education. Beach Municipal and ABNB also had CU advocates there to thank lawmakers for their support of our bills and educate them on their small loans and financial literacy efforts. Next CU Day is Thursday, when Piedmont and Southside advocates make their visits!