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The need to get involved


A couple of weeks ago I sent a message to the Development Educators Listserv regarding the need to get involved in our political process.  I want that message to be one of the main themes of my blog.  With that in mind, here’s the message I sent:

I just wanted to provide my .02 to this exchange of ideas.  For a very long time credit unions have been used to just *maybe* issuing a check to the PAC and thinking that is all that needs to be done and I believe underestimate the importance of getting involved in politics.   In my opinion, this is a huge contributor to why, as William pointed out, we have not been successful in key objectives of our legislative agenda.

Furthermore, if a majority of credit unions started payroll deduction for their employees and stressed the importance of contributing, I guarantee you that we would be in the top 5 PACs on that list.

Anyone that cares for the movement has to get involved.  While talking to one of the hill veterans a couple of months ago, he revealed to me that there are several Congressmen who are or have been on bank boards.  There are currently zero Congressmen on a credit union board.  In addition to doing a better job at fundraising and helping candidates monetarily, we have to realize that we also have to get engaged in the “process”.  The type of involvement that I’m referring to is going to campaign activities, getting involved in the races and informing those candidates about the credit union’s mission, philosophy and what it’s doing in the community.  Letting your members know what elected officials (or candidate) will empower your credit union as it seeks to serve its members better is also of upmost importance.  We always tell elected officials how many members are their constituents, but these numbers are meaningless if we don’t let those members know who is on their side.

Ultimately, credit unions need to get involved in grassroots activities and partisan communications to their members (you would send a mailer to only the members of your credit union that belong to the same political party as the candidate that you’re supporting).

This is the only way that credit unions will thrive in the political environment and is a great opportunity to engage your members and create member loyalty.  We lost the interchange battle and we cannot afford this to happen when the battle is over taxation or CRA.

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