What is advocacy?
Advocacy is a term that usually makes people a bit nervous, but the reality is most of us “advocate” every day when we voice our opinion with a co-worker or speak up about an issue affecting our family or local community. Simply put, advocacy is about making your voice heard on behalf of your credit union and members.
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Urgent Current Issues
In today's political environment every organization has legislation issues before it and credit unions are no different. The following are legislative issues that credit unions are currently active participants in.
Increased Data Protection Standards for Merchants
Merchants are not subject to the same federal data protection standards as financial institutions, such as credit unions. This means that some merchants fail to invest sufficiently in data security measures. As a result, it can be easier for hackers to gain access to a person’s credit card number, debit pin number, or other sensitive data through a merchant. Hackers can then sell this information to bad actors, or use it themselves to fraudulently buy things with the stolen data. Find out more at StopTheDataBreaches.com.
The Credit Union Value Proposition (Tax Exemption)
Congress has provided the credit union federal tax-exemption because of the not-for-profit, cooperative structure of credit unions, and the special mission credit unions have to serve consumers. The credit union tax status is not based on the size of credit unions or the products and services that they offer; it is based on the credit union structure. This rationale for the tax-exempt status has been ratified several times by Congress. Visit DontTaxMyCreditUnion.org for more information.
Congress should enact the Capital Access for Small Businesses and Jobs Act (H.R. 719), which would modify the definition of credit union net worth to include supplemental forms of capital for credit unions and allow the regulator to develop risk based capital standards for the purposes of prompt corrective action (PCA).
Member Business Lending
Congress should enact the Credit Union Small Business Jobs Creation Act (H.R. 688), which would allow well-capitalized credit unions operating near the business lending cap to increase their business loan offerings to 27.5% of total assets, if they receive approval by the NCUA. This approach has been endorsed by the Obama administration
The Merchant Payment Coalition continues their effort to reduce the fees merchants pay in order to accept payment cards. While these groups continue to raise this issue with Congress, much of the more recent action is taking place in the courts and in state legislatures.
Employee Co-Op Club
People's Trust has the Employee Co-Op Club, an organization of credit union employees dedicated to actively advocating for our credit union and for our members throughout the year. The Employee Co-Op Club was started in 2008 and has an employee participation rate of 69%. All of these employees give their own, hard earned money to the state and federal credit union Political Action Committees (PACs). In fact, employees have contributed almost $20,000 since the club's inception. These contributions help put lawmakers in office who support credit unions' existence and lawmakers who are actively advocating for the credit union industry.
Want to find out more?
Check out CUNA's Grassroots Action Center for up to date information on current issues.