Young Professionals from Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming woke to a muggy and cloudy day in our nation’s capital. It had been 17 years since the attacks of 9/11. The city seemed eerily quiet with a heavy police presence as our Young People got started in the inaugural Mountain West Young Credit Union Professionals (MWCUP) Advocacy Training.
The day started with breakfast at the iconic Dubliner where we were joined by John Magill, the Mountain West Credit Union Association’s national lobbyist. Mr. Magill updated the YP’s on current legislation, the tone of Washington in these hyper-political times and provided pointers on how to talk to elected officials.
The group then traveled to the new headquarters of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). We were welcomed into their new open-concept designed offices where CUNA’s staff stressed the importance of telling your credit union and members stories when advocating on behalf of the movement. The group was encouraged to share the impact their credit union has on its members and community. It’s common that we focus on compliance or operations but it is the member stories and overall impact credit unions have in their communities that can move legislators toward action. We were told never to leave an elected official without asking them for their support of an issue or the movement in general.
The next meeting took place at the National Credit Union Administration’s (NCUA) headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. The group cleared security and was escorted to a meeting with Tim Segerson – Deputy Director, Office of Examination and Insurance and Owen Cole – Associate Director, Office of Examination and Insurance and President, Central Liquidity Facility. The gentlemen from NCUA were gracious with their time spending two full hours discussing a wide range of issues.
They gave a quick overview of NCUA and how the agency interacts with credit unions, then jumped into describing the examination modernization initiative currently underway at the agency. Discussion moved on to issues around cybersecurity and how the agency will train examiners to understand and evaluate a credit union’s cybersecurity policies and practices during the exam process. It was clear that the agency is training its examiners heavily in this area. A participant asked when further guidance for CECL compliance would be issued to credit unions. NCUA will be giving examiners and credit unions additional information for compliance to CECL standards in the next 12-18 months. The meeting concluded with a discussion around the agency’s 2018 Supervisory Priorities. They are Cybersecurity Assessment, Bank Secrecy Act Compliance, Internal Controls and Fraud Prevention, Interest Rate and Liquidity Risk, Higher Risk Auto Lending, Commercial Lending and Consumer Compliance. It was great to have two leaders from NCUA give so much of their time and engage in such an open and productive discussion with the young professionals!
That afternoon the group toured the Library of Congress, walked through the city, spent time getting to know each other and learned more about the history of Washington D.C.
The group was also treated to a tour of the U.S. Capitol by a staff member from Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney’s office. It was great to hear the history of such an iconic building and gave us all pause to walk through the site of so many moments in our nation’s history.
The two following days consisted of meeting with the offices of Arizona Congresswoman Debbie Lesko and Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema, Colorado Senator Michael Bennet and Congressman Mike Coffman and Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney. The participants from each state relayed information about the work of credit unions in their communities and how our tax exempt status helps further that work. We shared how data breaches at merchants and others impacts our ability to serve our membership to the best of our ability. We shared how when a breach occurs, staff in the credit union are reassigned to help re-issue cards, review transactions in the case any fraud was committed and speak with members to help them understand the process. We are also shared the impacts to the member from changing their card numbers on reoccurring payments to the time they don’t have cards. We also discussed how overall deregulation will aid in spurring economic growth and providing greater access to American citizens.
MWYCUP is committed to Advocacy Training as a Pillar of Development for our young leaders. It is important to develop relationships with elected officials at all levels of government and learn the skills to be effective advocates on behalf of the credit union movement now and in the furture.