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A Direct Line Blog

What a Week!

March 13, 2024 7:30 am

By Donya Parrish, MCU VP Risk Management

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the Governmental Affairs Conference — GAC as it is affectionately called. To say it was inspiring to spend four days in Washington, D.C. in the company of over 5,000 credit union advocates is an understatement!

With the variety of meetings for specific groups and a variety of breakout sessions to choose from, we all had a unique experience at GAC. Here were a few of my personal takeaways this year:

  • America’s Credit Unions is our new national association, formed through the merger of CUNA and NAFCU. The organization is in transition mode with a dedicated super star executive team who is committed to both listening and building an association that works for YOU! It was clear there is more information to come and that we all have a seat at the table.
  • America’s Credit Unions will not be using the acronym ACU or anything other than the full name. Old habits die hard, and we love acronyms so much in this industry!
  • The new logo (above) is one I would have described as a “spinning thing” until I saw the visual of it overlayed on the inside of a capitol dome looking up into the dome. Once you see it, it makes perfect sense and it just can’t be unseen how it highlights the advocacy work being done in DC, and across the country in state capitols.
  • The system has many vendors and partners who feel just as passionate about the credit union difference as our credit union attendees do!
  • “Junk fees” were a huge topic of discussion and have the potential to derail much of the work credit unions can do to help underserved members. There are several efforts underway to convince decision makers this is the wrong approach to helping consumers.
  • Montana is fortunate to have a congressional delegation where all four members strongly supports credit unions.
  • Everyone has a connection to Montana. Fortunately, the Yellowstone craze seems to have passed (not one person brought it up!) but not the envy of our beautiful state as a place to visit.
  • Board members and executives from all over the country were there to advocate for their credit union and members. If you want to think about being there in 2025, mark March 2-6 on your calendar.
  • Advocacy is a year-round activity and there will be more opportunities to get more engaged. Read more in our recent blog and see our photos from a few celebrations and Hill visits. A big congratulations to Bryan Fox for his induction to the Credit Union Hall of Leaders!

It was a wonderful and worthwhile conference and it might be weeks to digest everything that I heard, saw, and took away. The biggest thing I was reminded about is that credit unions really are different, and that difference is worth advocating for and fighting to protect!

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