Twenty five representatives of the Richmond Chapter took their turn at CU Day on Wednesday, trekking through the halls of the General Assembly over the course of three hours to talk to 22 legislators or their aides about the credit union message. Appointments were made with the following legislators, and in most cases the advocates were able to see the actual lawmakers:
Here’s the rundown on the Senate side: John Watkins, chairman of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee; Walter Stosch, also a member of Senate Commerce and Labor; Steve Martin, member of Senate Commerce and Labor; and Don McEachin.
On the House side, advocates went to the following offices: Dels. Jimmie Massie; John O’Bannon; Roxann Robinson; Joe Morrissey; Manoli Loupassi (member of House Commerce and Labor); Betsy Carr; John Cox, Chris Peace; Delores McQuinn; Jennifer McClellan (member of House Commerce and Labor); Peter Farrell; Lee Ware (member of House Commerce and Labor); Bobby Orrock; Rosalyn Dance; Keith Hodges; and Margaret Ransone.
CU advocates were able to start building relationships with new members of the Richmond delegation. For instance, freshman Del. Peter Farrell immediately informed his credit union visitors from Henrico and Virginia Credit Union that his fiance is a credit union member. He also recalled being a Senate staffer three years ago when bankers vigorously opposed public deposits for credit unions. “It wasn’t quiet then!” he recalled, in contrast to this year’s session where a regulatory relief bill that benefits state chartered credit unions quickly succeeded in both houses of the General Assembly.
He lauded credit unions for offering a “wonderful service” when advocates spoke of their payday alternative loan programs, offering loans as small as $100 and considering loans to people whose credit scores are in the 500 range. He enthusiastically received news about credit union efforts at teaching financial literacy to young people, noting he wished he had had such an educational opportunity as a student.
Del. O’Bannon asked questions of the Entrust representative, intrigued by its mission-based, Baptist membership. Sean O’Hara invited the delegate to talk to his congregation about joining. Del. O’Bannon also expressed dissatisfaction with title lenders, and the Entrust and Virginia Credit Union advocates spoke of their efforts to provide people with an alternative to them.
Del. Jimmie Massie told the credit union constituents that they are “customers,” and “it’s important for you to stop by” and meet with lawmakers.
Advocates from Virginia Credit Union and Entrust spoke with an aide to Sen. Henry Marsh. She was very interested in the financial education programs and said the senator might want to partner with VACU on a financial literacy offering.
BayLands CEO Chris Burgess led the delegation to see freshman Del. Keith Hodges. It was a reunion of sorts since Hodges once worked for Burgess mowing grass.
Hodges told his former boss that he still remembers his advice to make a career out of something he loved to do.
As usual, some of the meetings were impromptu, as when Virginia Credit Union CEO flagged down Sen. Stosch in the hallway. This happens all the time in the General Assembly Building, showing how important it is to be there on a regular basis.
If anyone else from the Richmond CU Day wants to share the comments they heard from their visits, please email them today or Thursday morning.
CU Days at the General Assembly are almost over. Next week NOVA will complete the 2012 cycle. Thank you advocates for taking the time to visit your lawmakers in Richmond!