Advocates shared stories of their small, low-interest loans helping members with House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mark Sickles. From left to right: Gaye DeCesare, David Woodruff, Del. Sickles, and Mike Ligon.
Ten members of the NOVA chapter took on the assignment Wednesday morning of stopping by the offices of nearly 30 state lawmakers and their staff members in a little over two hours.
Their visits were a good mix of seeing veteran members of the General Assembly while meeting freshmen. And because it looks as though the credit union bills are well on their way to final passage, and bills that had earlier in the session merited concern are now dead or languishing, the visits focused on how credit unions meet the needs of their members.
Again there were discussions of small loans at good rates, financial education programs, and training efforts to alert staff on how to detect and report financial elder abuse.
Dan Morissey of Queen of Peace told Del. Alfonso Lopez that all regulatory changes impact small credit unions like his greatly, even when it involves a relatively minor issue like new insurance regulations that require the purchase of new forms.
The aide to Del. Mark Keam noted the legislator’s interest in preventing financial elder abuse, leading to discussion of credit union efforts to detect the fraud. “Day to day, we’re looking out for our members,” said David Woodruff of Commonwealth One.
Del. Mark Sickles asked questions about the low-cost loans offered by credit unions in his area. Gaye DeCesare of Belvoir noted the payday loan alternatives marketed to the military in particular, with loans as small as $100. Woodruff noted the low-cost loans for homeowners needing to make their homes more energy efficient. His credit union also offers payday loan alternatives, and periodically has to make loans of $2,000 to help members escape the ongoing fees of a loan that originally was for $500.
NOVA’s CU Day also saw the participation of our youngest advocates yes, Catie and Alexa Reed (accompanied by parents Diane and David). They even wore VACUPAC pins!
Thank you everyone to everyone who helped organized their chapter’s CU Day and to everyone who made the legislative visits. It takes a lot of work but the payoff is that every visit raises the legislator’s awareness of credit unions and appreciation that credit unions are watching what the General Assembly does.
Sometimes credit unions may think a relatively quiet year in the General Assembly is a good time to skip a CU Day, but it’s really the best opportunity to have a stress-free discussion underlining credit unions’ contributions to the Commonwealth.