CCUL Headlines: Political

Strengthening connections: CCUL Advocacy continues virtual networking with lawmakers, candidates

Thursday, June 25, 2020   (0 Comments)
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The latest virtual advocacy events hosted by the Carolinas Credit Union League joined credit union advocates in North and South Carolina with lawmakers and Congressional candidates to share credit unions’ continuing support for members and communities and discuss related legislative priorities.

 


The League and NC credit unions meet virtually with NC-2 Candidate Deborah Ross, sharing background on credit unions and their recent outreach to pandemic-affected citizens.

In North Carolina, credit union participants from Civic, Coastal, LGFCU, and SECU had the opportunity on Wednesday, June 24 to meet Deborah Ross, candidate for North Carolina's 2nd Congressional District. The League’s NC Governmental Affairs Committee voted to support Ross’ candidacy on February 7, and she successfully won the Democratic primary on March 3.

Although favored to win in the general election on Nov. 3, Ross noted on the call that nothing is ever guaranteed and her campaign continues to utilize every virtual opportunity to safely and effectively connect with campaign supporters, future constituents, and community and business leaders—including credit unions.

Deborah Ross
Deborah Ross (D)
(NC-02 Congressional Candidate)

“As a credit union member, myself, I know what a fabulous service credit unions provide,” Ross said. “Particularly, how much you all care about your members and community.”

Following Ross’ remarks, League President/CEO Dan Schline summarized what North Carolina credit unions have done for small businesses and members in the current environment, and recognized the credit union participants on hand to offer perspective.

“Credit unions have a long history of doing the right things for our members,” LGFCU President Mark Caverly said. “COVID has not changed that in any way, it’s only enhanced what we’ve done. Like many credit unions, we’ve been granting loan extensions and payment extensions. Again, we’re just enhancing what we do to help our members in need.”

Open discussion then focused on credit union support for small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), plus opportunities for ongoing impact via an increased member business lending (MBL) cap.

Responding to Ross’ observation that financial institutions faced frustrating hurdles to offer the PPP program, League VP of Governmental Affairs Evelyn Hawthorne noted a related layer to that issue is the current member business lending (MBL) limitations credit unions are structured under.

“One of the things we’re working on in Congress is trying to get a little relief on that business lending restriction, so credit unions can more comfortably get into this lending space,” commented Hawthorne. “While PPP lending was exempt from the current MBL cap, we would argue that the reason only eight to nine credit unions in North Carolina signed on to participate is because our community is not empowered to distribute business loans on a regular basis. This makes it harder for credit unions to jumpstart into a PPP program when it suddenly comes around.”

At the conclusion of the call, Ross thanked all the participants and welcomed an ongoing conversation as the year continues.

 

In South Carolina, the League hosted a Zoom meeting with Congressman Ralph Norman (R-05) on Thursday, June 18, and welcomed credit union representatives from Founders, Palmetto Citizens, and Sharonview.

Ralph Norman
Congressman Ralph Norman
(R-SC05)

The meeting allowed opportunity for Congressman Norman to hear directly from credit unions on issues impacting them, and for credit unions to discuss additional issues important to them. While the meeting covered an array of topics, a few issues of note were on the need to allow for electronic notary and the need for business liability protections due to COVID-19.

“With all the happenings related to the pandemic, it is crucial to remain engaged with our elected officials,” said League VP of Governmental Affairs Billy Boylston. “Our credit unions and their members are facing a lot of adversity right now, and it is important that we are able to stay connected with our lawmakers to relay these messages and highlight all the great work credit unions are doing.”

 

The League thanks all who participated for their time and continued attention to these credit union issues. The League continues to monitor the legislative environment and seek similar opportunities for engagement among credit union advocates and elected officials. For questions or concerns on the latest advocacy issues, CCUL Advocacy.

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