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2023 MCUL GAC: Recap of Our Annual Advocacy Event

ceoOn May 3, more than 200 people came to Lansing for the 2023 Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL) Government Affairs Conference (GAC). MCUL CEO Patty Corkery kicked off the event with some opening remarks on advocacy and last night’s popular PAC the Pub event, particularly welcoming young professionals attending the GAC, as well as recognizing the sponsors that made the event happen.

Then Director of State Advocacy Haleigh Krombeen took the stage to introduce the PAC and ASFM Awards, which recognized credit unions who did outstanding fundraising for the Michigan credit union movement in 2022. In total last year, credit unions raised $608,000 to support MCUL’s advocacy agenda.

Also given was the annual Lon Bone Grassroots Professional Activist Award. This award recognizes one credit union professional and is awarded annually to recognize a credit union employee that goes above and beyond to advocate on the League’s behalf and mentor others on the role the credit union movement plays in Michigan.

lonThe 2023 recipient of the Lone Bone Grassroots Professional Activist Award is PFCU’s former CEO Harvey Hoskins.

When it comes to recognizing the importance of grassroots activity and political fundraising, PFCU has provided an exceptional example for a very long time with Harvey Hoskins at the helm. Over the years, he has engaged at a high level, running successful programs and has been a key supporter for the Michigan credit union industry’s advocacy efforts. 

“Harvey has been a central figure for PFCU’s continued success in the advocacy space over the last 33 years,” said Krombeen. “He encourages and empowers his team to get involved in advocacy efforts at all levels … His team is always involved in our advocacy events at the chapter, state and federal level, providing valuable insight in these meetings.”

View a full list of those award winners here.

In anticipation of the Legislative Luncheon, which saw legislative leaders and staff visiting the event to talk with attendees over lunch, Krombeen provided a state legislative update. She covered the status of ongoing and potential legislations, including small-dollar loans, payday lending and data security.

Krombeen also stressed the importance of educating lawmakers during the luncheon through the use of personal stories. For instance, she mentioned that the League working with the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) on implementing passed legislation on the half-credit financial education requirement.

“Talk to lawmakers about what you’re already doing in your community for financial education — things like Financial Reality Fairs — and how you can be of assistance to MDE to better implement this legislation,” she said.

Krombeen finished by asking attendees to make sure, in conversations with lawmakers, that they touch on what the credit union difference means.

Lawmaker Panel with Kyle Melinn

lawKyle Melinn, editor and VP of MIRS, took the stage for this year’s lawmaker panel, which features a group of legislators to discuss and debate relevant political issues.

The lawmakers for this year’s panel were Reps. Brenda Carter, Kristian Grant, Joe Aragona and Bryan Posthumus.

This format gives GAC attendees a chance to see first-hand how legislators are thinking and discussing key issues. Among the topics discussed were budget goals, economic development, talent development, unbanked residents and financial access and payday lending.

All four representatives also said they were in support of credit unions’ not-for-profit tax status.


DIFS Outlook with Anita Fox

In the afternoon, DIFS Director Anita Fox spoke to attendees. She said the credit union industry is “incredibly strong” and said DIFS recognized, during the recent bank failures, that the problems that led to those collapses aren’t present in the MIchigan credit union industry.

foxFox recognized all the levels of preparedness that credit unions have in place, especially compared to 2008, and how that affects being a critical part in Michigan communities.

The DIFS Director also touched on payday lending, particularly stressing programs that give people more access to traditional loans and reaching people to help them understand that even with bad credit, there are healthy ways to pay off loans.

She ended by thanking credit unions for their dependable service to communities and ability to reassure members during uncertain times.

“Your members trust you,” said Fox.

 

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson

The 2023 MCUL GAC closed with a keynote from Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. SHe focused on her goal to make government work efficiently and effectively.

To support that, Benson said that since starting in this role, 60-70% of SoS transactions happen outside of a branch, saving people time and cutting down on branch congestion.

“Government doesn’t actually have to be something that you dread interacting with; you can have a smooth transaction,” said Benson, referencing the customer service innovation that her office has focused on.

Speaking to credit union interests, Benson touched on electronic lien and title (ELT) processes — reducing delays and increasing efficiency, specifically. She said she will continue to lean on industries like the credit union industry to better understand what will help the process.

Lastly, Benson discussed her priority to increase access to elections, which includes early voting time and locations.

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