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Michigan Credit Union League

2018 CUNA GAC, Day 1: Attendee Goals and Expectations

This past weekend, 145 Michigan credit union representatives, as well as MCUL staff, made their way to Washington, D.C. for the 2018 CUNA GAC.

MCUL kicked off the event on Sunday, Feb. 25 with a welcome reception for all Michigan representatives. League President and COO Ken Ross gave attendees an introduction and went over Michigan's goals for the event.

The reception also gave MCUL the chance to recognize the 2017 CUNA and CULAC Award winners:

  • 4Front CU: CULAC Pinnacle Award
  • Genisys CU: Second Annual CULAC Circle of Excellence Award
  • Community Financial CU: 1st place, Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award
  • Public Service CU: 1st place, Louise Herring Philosophy-in-Action Member Service Award
  • Michigan State University FCU: 2nd place, Desjardins Adult Financial Education Award
  • Alliance Catholic CU: Honorable mention, Desjardins Adult Financial Education Award

During the reception, MCUL had an opportunity to speak with some of the attendees about their goals and expectations going into the five-day event.

Michael Loucks, LAFCU’s regional vice president, said the focus of this year’s GAC is getting current credit union messages across to lawmakers. He particularly mentioned ADA compliance and data breach.

“We have hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses over the last few years — money we can’t put back in the community. So, I’m trying to get that message across to lawmakers.”

Karen Church, CEO of ELGA Credit Union, estimated that this is her 15-20th visit to the CUNA GAC. When asked what topics she is looking to focus on this year, she said, “Regulatory relief would be a great advance — anything they can do to help us with that.”

“My team gets larger and larger to try and handle compliance and regulation, so that would be our main goal.” She said she would love to see something happen on merchant breach, but did not express optimism on that topic.

Church, like Loucks, also said ADA compliance is a concern, “I would like them to understand how challenging that is and that credit unions do everything in our power to make sure that everybody is served no matter what their situation is, physical or otherwise. I believe they know that, but I’d like to make sure that we don’t have to pay unnecessary dollars for lawsuits or whatever else comes about on areas that really are in good shape in the first place.”

“I just want to make sure that lawmakers understand our unique position in the marketplace and that we make great impact in people’s lives at cost that is good for the member, that we are there, we’re a good resource for them,” Church continued. “No matter what they need, we do our best to serve them at the best ability. “

She mentioned that credit unions provide loans that other financial institutions won’t — loans that provide jobs and homes. “I think it’s really important for lawmakers to really see the impact that we have in people’s lives.”

When asked what they expect from CUNA CEO Jim Nussle, both Church and Loucks said they have been proud of the leadership he has provided for the credit union movement, and they are looking for him to help attendees connect with lawmakers and provide a clear message to take to the Hill.


MCUL also spoke to a couple new faces at the CUNA GAC: Lake Trust Credit Union’s Angela Loy and Elizabeth Manor. Both are Crashers this year and said their first impression of the event is excitement.

“We can tell how truly interested in hearing our voice and really exposing us to what’s happening in the industry. It’s been mind blowing just to be submerged into it the way I have,” said Loy.

Loy is looking to take back the energy and enthusiasm from the GAC back to her credit union to “continue the momentum we already have going.” She wants Lake Trust to “continue to operate with a social purpose.”

Manor said she was excited by the networking opportunities that the event offers, “There’s an abundance of resources to make connections, network with other Crashers — we get to see what we can learn from them, but also what we can offer them.” She particularly anticipates hearing other credit unions’ best practices.

Both Loy and Manor said they are looking forward to Hill visits later in the week, expecting an exposure to a part of credit union advocacy they haven’t experienced before.

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2018-02-26 00:00:00