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A Flurry of Hill Meetings on a Most Exciting Day

I love to watch credit union people converge on Capitol Hill to tell their stories to elected leaders in Washington. The discussions are quite cordial and they showcase the work that credit unions in NC are doing to serve members. (A few Flickr photos are located here.)

This year, we kicked off our meetings with Senators Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr in the Indian Affairs Committee Room. It’s a beautiful space that in this case was packed to the gills with 120 NC credit union people. Senator Dole praised the work of credit union people in NC. Recalling her years in the American Red Cross, Dole likened credit union work to the mission field. “Making that positive difference in so many lives has to be so rewarding for you,” Dole remarked to the credit union staff and volunteers.

Credit union people taking their message to Washington were energized by the news that a companion bill to CURIA was introduced in the Senate early Wednesday morning. Despite a lot of walking through the various offices buildings through the afternoon, this news gave an extra spring to everyone’s steps.

It’s tempting to get all wonky in these meetings and talk about how policy changes would impact the ability of credit unions to fulfill their missions – but really, the work of credit unions speaks for itself. When you share the ways in which consumers benefit from choosing a credit union, you really show how different — how unique — credit unions are in the marketplace.

When you start talking about the difference credit unions make for members … like the year-end rebate that a North State Telco CU member received … and how he gave this rebate money away to help save a family he cared about from foreclosure … you begin to discover the real differences between banks and credit unions.

Banking industry flacks like to compare surface things like products or brick and mortar in a vain effort to restrict credit union growth — but we all know it ain’t about that. It’s about that mission field that Senator Dole talked about. It’s the chance to get up out of bed and know you can do something good for people, and make the world around you better.

That daily commitment, and the values that commitment reflects, can’t be legislated into or out of existence. 


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