Protégé Meaghan King shares her top 5 takeaways from Hike the Hill
Thursday, December 5, 2019
Posted by: Meaghan King, 2019 Protégé, Greenville FCU
Editor’s Note: On November 13-14, our 2019 Protégé Meaghan King journeyed with credit union advocates to Washington, DC for the Carolinas Credit Union League’s annual Hike the Hill. This experience was her scholarship selection after winning the 2019 CUaware Protégé Competition. Below are her highlights and key insight from the experience.
1. Speak Up!
Although it can be intimidating to go into a congressman or senator’s office, don’t let it stop you from speaking up. Come in armed and ready with facts, figures, and stories that will make an impression on either the congressman, senator or their aides. The League does a great job at providing material and speaking points for you, which helps takes some of the pressure off. If you are passionate about the credit union movement, don’t be afraid to let them see that.
2. Our Members’ Stories Matter.
Going into a congressman’s office and giving them the facts and figures of why data security matters is important, but to give them an insight into the real-life situations of our members is invaluable. Think about how many facts and figures get thrown at you on a day-to-day basis. Although there is great power in numbers and hearing things such as, “X number of dollars are lost by our credit unions because merchants are liable to the same protocols as we are,” it’s the stories of our members that really drive home the point. To be able to say, “Because of the lack of data security, we receive calls from a single mom, who is working overtime to raise her children, frantic because her information is now compromised and she no longer has the funds to pay her rent or provide her kids with a great Christmas.” Our members’ stories are what put faces to the numbers and remind the congressman that there are real people, their constituents, being affected and something needs to be done to protect them.
3. Get Outside Your Box.
It is so easy to fall into the day-to-day business of helping our members in front of us, but if we are not consciously making an effort, we can lose sight of things that are affecting our members as a whole. We must stay informed of what is happening in the credit union industry to be better prepared to advocate for our credit unions. Carve out time to check the NCUA's, CUNA's, and the League’s websites, and stay informed.
4. Plan for The Future.
As we were meeting with one of the SC congressmen, the credit union tax exempt status was brought up. We shared the importance of the tax-exempt status, how it directly affects the service we are able to provide to our membership, and how credit unions are different from banks. We were told of the bank’s argument that credit unions are getting too large. The main point of the argument was that when credit unions start buying out banks then they should be taxed the same way. The point was argued, and one of our leaders brought up, that credit unions may be merging or buying community banks, but at this time they would not be on the same level of “competition” as a larger banking institution. The truth is, this may not be the issue right now, but as credit unions grow in assets this will be the issue that this generation of young professionals will face. So, let’s act proactively instead of reactively, and continue having conversations to be prepared for the future.
5. Advocacy Matters.
We get to be a voice for our members and for the credit union industry. If we just assume that someone else will handle the advocacy, we are wasting our voice. During our morning breakfast with Congressmen Duncan and Meadows, we were reminded of the importance of continuing to bring attention to the issues facing credit unions. So, let’s continue advocating for our credit unions.
About Meaghan King
Meaghan King, remote account services supervisor for Greenville FCU, was named the 2019 Protégé on Friday, Feb. 1, 2019 during the Carolinas Credit Union League’s LAUNCH Conference in Charlotte, NC. She serves on the CUaware Council with an overall focus on outreach, while assisting the CUaware Upstate region in event planning.