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2024 AC&E: MCUL Leaders Focus on Advocacy

MCUL CEO Patty Corkery started Thursday’s Center Stage! of the 2024 Annual Convention & Exposition (AC&E) by recognizing the Michigan Credit Union Foundation (MCUF) and thanking the 30 Young Professional Scholars that helped facilitate Wednesday night’s Corks for a Cause.

Corkery also recognized Beth Troost, who was the MCUF Executive Director from 2011 until handing the role over to Andrea Tucker earlier this year. Troost will be entering retirement in September.

MCUL’s CEO then welcomed MCUL Board Chair and Public Service Credit Union (PSCU) CEO Dean Trudeau to the stage to update attendees on League updates from the past year.

Board Chair Updates

dean“I can say, without hesitation, that the MCUL AC&E is one the best attended events in the nation. The League does a great job and I couldn’t be more excited to be here with all of you,” said Trudeau, before moving into an update on 2023.

“Last year, the Michigan credit union movement really concentrated on our mission to meet members where they are, not where we want them to be,” he said.

According to the Board Chair, Michigan credit unions donated $279,723 in federal PAC contributions and $241,213 for the state PAC. An additional $159,783 was raised for A Stronger Financial Michigan, MCUL’s issue advocacy fund set up to promote the credit union difference and defend anti-credit union political efforts.

Trudeau used the morning to focus on advocacy — both an update on progress over the last year and where the movement needs to go from here.

Speaking to the work done at the MCUL GAC and the America’s Credit Unions GAC in DC, he said growth is essential to building key relationships and making progress on priorities.

“When I first started in this industry, I honestly didn’t think my voice made a difference. But you see immediately, once you get engaged in grassroots efforts and you have the attention of a lawmaker in these settings, they are very receptive and willing to learn!” he said.

“When we give lawmakers tangible stories about how decisions they make have a real-world impact on our members and their constituents, and making the connection that our members are their constituents, that’s when our advocacy really makes a difference. That’s when your voice is heard,” continued Trudeau.

Alongside asking young and emerging leaders to embrace advocacy, the PSCU CEO also implored current leaders to seek out young professionals to give them opportunities to grow and be an active part in “the big picture of our movement.”

“I see it, they’re sponges, they’re ready to learn and lend their passion to this industry in a productive way.”

Lastly, Trudeau took a moment to honor CUSG CEO Dave Adams as he embarks on his retirement.

“Dave spent nearly four decades in service to the credit union industry, and we are all witnesses to how he’s changed our movement in so many ways for the best.”

MCUL CEO Patty Corkery

pattyFollowing the year’s theme of “90 Years of MCUL,” Corkery’s presentation focused on the history of the Michigan credit union movement, including how the Federal Credit Union Act (FCUA) paved the way for what the industry is today.

She highlighted the first 17 Michigan credit unions, many of which are still existing today albeit under different names, as well as the first MCUL President, Sam Smith.

“Why did people come together to form a credit union league?” asked Corkery. To create a network, facilitate growth, protect credit unions and communicate — the same reasons why MCUL exists today.

Of course, the other reason why MCUL exists is to provide advocacy. After going over some of the advocacy issues credit unions faced in the 1930s, Corkery invited MCUL EVP of Advocacy Kieran Marion to the stage to talk about current advocacy issues that the industry is facing, as well as a forecast of the coming year.

pckmTopics covered by Marion included payday lending legislation, interchange, FCUA modernization, overdraft protection and “junk fee” rhetoric, cyber security and harmful collections reforms. He also gave a political outlook for the six months leading to the 2024 election.

“We have one of the most paralyzed and dysfunctional congresses in the history of the Republic,” he said, also adding that Congress is aiming for a new “do-nothing” record. Supporting that claim, Marion said the 118th Congress passed just 41 bills, while the 117th Congress passed 365 bills.

The MCUL EVP of Advocacy also went over a regulatory outlook, touching on changes to the NCUA Board and the CFPB’s top priorities for 2024, which include overdraft fees, credit card late fees, data broker and aggregator supervision and Fair Credit Reporting Act.

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